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Naming It, Claiming It: Why Here?

Note: On January 1, my husband and I made a resolution for the New Year: we would move to California's Central Coast before the end of 2010. This series chronicles the career component of our journey as I attempt to make connections, build a network, and, hopefully (fingers crossed!), find a legal job in the next twelve months. Here are the first and second posts in the series.Last fall, I had a job interview in a city that I knew, even then, that I didn't want to move to. I remember driving into the city, wondering what I was even…

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Swimming in Small Ponds:  The Peculiarities of Etymology and an Overview of the Elements of Culture

My upstairs neighbor and I share a similar story: we’re both from small towns, went to school in larger cities, and last year, rented a flat in the same duplex when we started our careers.  Just last week, we were sitting on her balcony enjoying the beautiful weather of this Appalachian river valley in the springtime, the view of the charming city park across the street (and its various patrons) and, of course, a few beers.  During this time, we compared notes on being young professionals in our new community.  One of the quirks we discussed involved differences in speech…

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Paula Edgar

Esquisite Paths: Rhonda Joy McLean

Rhonda Joy McLean is an inspiration.  I first met Rhonda briefly when she was honored at the Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA)’s 30th Anniversary gala.  One of my mentors took me to the event and told me that I had to meet her.   Rhonda has the type of spirit that makes you want to hug her often and sit cross-legged in her living room listening to her tell stories.  I was excited to learn more about her path as an attorney in New York City.  During our conversation, Rhonda spoke about many topics, including her experience integrating an all-white…

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Breaking Chains to Build New Links: Social Media

If you are anything like me, you have never approached networking or self promotion in a systematic way.  In fact, you may be terrified of it.  Yet, our ability to network and self promote is essential for building a client base, building our own name, and building our careers.  Each month I’m going to tackle one strategy for networking or self promotion in an effort to help all of us break the chains we’ve put around ourselves and begin building new links.  If you have a topic you’d like covered, e-mail me at    This month we’re talking about…

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Ursula Furi-Perry Esq.

Ms. Prof: Socratic? So Ineffective!

Admittedly, I have some beef with the Socratic method.  For starters, “Researchers…cite the use of the Socratic method in the classroom and the faculty's emphasis on linear thinking at the expense of student creativity and personal values,” write Todd David Peterson and Elizabeth Waters Peterson in their article, Stemming the Tide of Law Student Depression: What Law Schools Need to Learn from the Science of Positive Psychology. “Others have found that law school fosters certain personality traits in its students that can lead to unhappiness, such as defensiveness and pessimism.” See 9 Yale J. Health Pol'y, L. & Ethics 357…

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Lawyering and Living for Less: Start a Firm Without Spending a Fortune

It's no secret that the legal job market is in depressingly terrible shape.  Ask any recent or prospective law school graduate about their career plans (if you dare) and you'll hear stories of grads fighting tooth and nail for legal assistant and paralegal positions, planning their return to pre-law jobs, or perfecting their latte-making skills.But many recent grads are taking a leap and putting their legal skills to work by forming a solo practice.  Starting a firm has many benefits - you can work when and where you want, practice whatever kind of law strikes your fancy, and be your…

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Vado Porro

Running from the Law: Finish Strong

 In less than a month, I will be able to follow my name with the letters "J.D."  This three year, six semester, incredibly challenging journey will be over, and I will stand at the beginning of the rest of my life.  May 10th is graduation day.  It's the finish line.  It's what we're running towards. At the same time, I'm training for my second half-marathon.  I'm on a mission to beat the course closing time of 3:15; but I'm also on a mission to beat my last half-marathon time of 2:20.  My friend who I run races with is training with…

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Me and the Boys

Forget the Linen Closet: The Perpetually Pregnant Law Student

I was eight and a half months pregnant with our second child when I started law school.  And I was terrified.  Add that to the fact that I was wait-listed and only allowed into the school three weeks before classes started, I did not feel like I belonged there. Needing reassurance, I called up the Dean of Student Services the day before orientation to inform her of my condition. (Translation: Is it actually okay for pregnant women to come to law school?)  My inquiry must have sounded something like, "I'm pregnant.... orientation.... due date..... um....?" The Dean, being a very…

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Ask Miranda Pennoyer: of ABBA & Electioneering

It’s time once again for “Ask Miranda Pennoyer,” the column that answers your questions about life, liberty, and the pursuit of billable hours.  This columnist is one the few to be recognized by members of the ABBA as both a Super Trouper and a Dancing Queen.    So now, it’s time to get to the name of the game: questions from our loyal readers.  Our first is an issue that touches all legal professionals, but only in appropriate places.   Q.  Last week, an interviewer asked me how I feel about pro bono work.  My question is, can anyone be anti-bono?…

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What Not to Do, Part II: Always Be Prepared

Always be prepared. One really can’t really stress how undervalued this advice is. It is common sense, but often ignored at the most inconvenient times. Especially for a law student during interview season.. It was fall of 2009 and Alex had her eye on a mid-sized local firm with seemingly great people and a wide selection of practice areas. The brief and glaringly cursory on-campus interview had gone well. She had worn a conservative black suit, brought the right portfolio, and smiled and engaged with the two partners at exactly the right moments. They seemed to have clicked. So she…

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