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Am I wearing too many hats? Learning how to juggle it all: CHANGE.

June 24, 2020 was my first day back in the courtroom since March 13, 2020. As I walked to the courthouse, I saw my client across the street as he yelled “Ms. Ellison, Ms. Ellison, wait up! Wait for me!” Honestly, I instantly felt apprehensive due to COVID-19. How will I greet him? Sometimes I start with a handshake or a fist bump, coupled with a smile. How will I tell him to stay six feet apart from me? Will he be offended? What are his thoughts about the pandemic? Is he taking it seriously? Yes, these are thoughts that ran through…

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Practice Pointers - Managing Expectations

Have you ever had that nightmare where you forgot about a deadline or had two things due at the same time and only managed to finish one? And then you woke up panicked, drenched in sweat, right before the climactic scene in which a partner hurls a series of expletives (and maybe even a stapler) at you? No? Not yet? Well, let’s be sure to keep it that way. One thing they don’t teach you in law school is how to manage expectations when you’re in the real world. That’s more of a “learn as you go and figure it…

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Techlegality: Where Do We Go from Here?

In the midst of arguably the biggest social movement of my generation, conversations surrounding inclusion have become increasingly prevalent. This unprecedented atmosphere of change has required me to engage in dialogues with colleagues and associates about what it truly means to cultivate environments (professional, social, etc.) that properly encompass the experiences of people of color and other marginalized groups. The overwhelming truth is that the recent happenings are not isolated events. Everyday, people of color are faced with the responsibility of figuring out how to navigate their daily lives with the implications of their existence as minorities. This interplay between…

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The Influencers: The Judge was a Lady

Last fall, Harris County, Texas accomplished a singular feat when it voted onto the bench 17 African-American women, joining two black women already serving. It made news, and the 19 women call themselves “Black Girl Magic”. I should say so. It got me to thinking about how long people of color, particularly female people of color have been actively serving as judges in this country. I love pioneers and trailblazers, especially the ones who have to overcome the objections of naysayers and bigots to achieve their goals. In this column I’ve celebrated many firsts: the first woman lawyer, the first women…

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Desiree Goff

Medical Malpractice and Litigation - Being a “Phenom”

We have focused on several different areas of law which intersect with science and technology. However, we haven’t spent any time discussing one of the more patently obvious areas - medical malpractice. This area of law practice relies heavily on litigation and trial work, which women are frequently steered away from. However, studies are showing that the women that do make it into the courtroom routinely outperform their male colleagues. These women are termed “phenoms” for their ability to get past the double glass ceiling. They work harder to get into the field and then fight to get into the…

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It’s time to be vocal about our values

Have you ever engaged in a conversation where things were said that went deeply against your values, yet for some reason or another you chose to stay silent? It happened to the best of us. You could hear these past weeks many times the Angela Davis quote that “it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist”. I have to admit, although I’ve never considered myself racially biased, I haven’t exactly been actively anti-racist either. And I know many of us were educated and informed enough to know that those horrible things were happening to BIPOC people, yet…

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Everything is Reproductive Justice - Formerly Known As (Part I)

     Recently, I celebrated co-authoring, “The Continued Rise of the Reproductive Justice Lawyer,” my first published paper as an attorney. Back in law school, I never understood or explored what law review meant. As a first generation lawyer, I was just trying to pass and get through every hurdle law school threw at me. My recent writing milestone has me thinking about my perspective and experience as a former law student. Below, I want to share a brief letter I penned to my former law student self:   Dear Leigh Creighton,      Remember when you were an undergraduate…

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Everything Nobody Ever Told Me: Why If You’re Hysterical, It’s Historical

I had been having problems with my email lately. I dreaded calling technical support, since my experience in the past involved sitting for a long time on hold and listening to someone reading from a script instead of thinking creatively about my problem. However, since I could not fix the problem myself and I felt I had no other options, I called my internet service provider’s technical support line. True to form, after thirty minutes on the phone we had barely moved past the point where I had repeated my name and account number to four different people. Then, after…

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The Influencers: Woman, African-American, Trailblazer

Have you ever thought about doing something that no one had ever done before, a truly novel idea, and you had no idea how you’d make it happen?  Imagine, if you will, your future as a young woman in post-Civil War Washington, D.C. Chances are good that you would complete 8th grade, but they were poor - less than 50% -- that you would go on to high school. College for women in the 1870s? If you were lucky enough to go attend a college, most likely the curriculum would be designed to train you as a teacher.  Now, imagine…

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Practice Pointers – Investing in Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I couldn’t let these 31 days go by without addressing mental health and the practice of law. So here I am anxiously asking myself what I want to say at 8:41 pm on Sunday, May 31. (Full credit goes to my generalized anxiety disorder for this latest installment of “Natasha psyched herself out and procrastinated yet again even though she knows she shouldn’t.”) It would be the understatement of the year to say that lawyers suffer from a mental health and substance abuse epidemic. ALM’s most recent Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey…

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