Apply to Join Ms. JD’s Board of Directors!

Ms. JD is seeking diverse leaders in the legal community who are passionate about improving the experiences of women law students and lawyers to join our Board of Directors. Ms. JD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers. Ms. JD is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of law students and attorneys, who are supported by our Chief Executive Officer, a small group of independent contractors, and our vast network of volunteers. Ms. JD is a 501(c)(3), incorporated in California. Serving as a unique nexus between the legal…

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My Top 3 Takeaways from the Ms. JD 2019 NWLSO Leadership Academy

I had the honor of attending the Ms. JD 2019 NWLSO Leadership Academy, hosted in Cambridge, MA at Harvard Law School, November 22-23, 2019.  I was elated for the opportunity to connect with other law students, attorneys, and business professionals, who share the same passion of wanting to see women in the legal field flourish and achieve a playing field equal to their male counterparts. 1. Failure is an Important Reflection Point Upon my arrival to Boston I was greeted with an e-mail from the Air Force JAG Recruitment Chief – informing me that I had not been selected for the November 2019…

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5 Practical Tips for New Lawyers to Avoid Depression

A survey from the ABA Young Lawyers Division found that 41% of female attorneys were unhappy with their jobs. A highly cited study from Johns Hopkins University of more than 100 occupations found that lawyers had the highest incidence of depression. While these figures are alarming, it’s not surprising that many lawyers are depressed. After all, the practice of law is inherently stressful. It’s a demanding career, and some days, it feels as if the work will never be done. For new lawyers, the first few years can be especially stressful. Here are five practical tips to help prevent depression.…

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Ms. JD’s Report Card: 2018 Annual Conference “Her Story”

Editor's Note: In preparation for our upcoming 12th Annual Conference in March, I'll be sharing highlights from some of our past conferences. Enjoy!  On March 8th and 9th of 2018, Ms. JD hosted its annual conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. The theme of the conference was “Her Story,”  and many of the talks and panels focused on the different journeys of the speakers. This was my first time attending a Ms. JD conference, and I was not sure what to expect, as I was attending by myself. I must say I was pleasantly surprised!…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Reality of Non-Equity Partnership

Lawyers at all levels of practice can be valuable members of the profession and can find satisfaction in their work.  That is a given, and the decision where you want to fall along the gamut is up to you.  But, before you put that decision in motion, be sure that you understand the terms.  For law firms, that includes being familiar with the ins and outs of non-equity partnership. Non-equity partnership sounds good to many young lawyers who think they understand the demands of equity partnership and want something less. The thinking goes something like this:  I will still have an…

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Why Can’t Law Firms Retain Their Female and Minority Lawyers? Because Conformity is Exhausting.

A common topic of conversation among my female professional friends is how much of our work lives are controlled by gender and racial stereotypes.  The most common one is being told to smile.  I can’t tell you how many times in my working life that a male partner or associate has walked into my office while I was deep in thought working on a brief or an important client memo and looked at me and said, “is there something wrong?” or “are you ok?” When I say that everything is fine, they often say something like, “you’re not smiling, you…

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What is the number one piece of career advice you have received?

Build real relationships. I put an emphasis on relationships because we currently live in a culture that repeatedly exhorts people to network. But it’s easy to go to an event and collect business cards. It’s another thing to building a relationship with another person. This does require time and energy, along with the willingness to be vulnerable and curious about the person you’re trying to build a relationship with. In a busy profession such as the law that may seem daunting. But I can attest from first hand experience that the investment is worth it. In the fall of 2017…

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Types of Lawyers: Deciding What Type Of Lawyer Will You Be.

It's your first day at law school, you have a lot in mind but your pure goal is to become a successful lawyer. Law aspirants and even established lawyers may struggle to decide what area of law they want to be an expert with. Going to law schools may spark your thoughts that you will eventually work in renown and large firms practicing corporate law but the truth is that may not happen and you might be directed to another path.  We need to remember that all areas of the law are important and it comes handy in different situations. Whether you…

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Something Blue: Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession - Collective Wisdom of 2019

As a 2019 Ms. JD Writer in Residence, I had the privilege of interviewing some truly inspirational first-generation lawyers/lawyers with blue-collar roots.  I learned about their unique paths to law school and the legal profession, and the challenges associated with becoming the first person in their family (or possibly in their community) to become a lawyer.  These women also shared some great advice, which I compiled below.  It is my hope that first-generation attorneys will continue to share their stories and mentor and support other trailblazers who are climbing up the ladder.    Collective Wisdom of 2019: You Can Do It! “You deserve to be where you…

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What area of law are you interested in?

As a second-year law student, I am often asked what area of the law interests me. This is a daunting question because after a whole year of law school and a summer internship, I still am not sure what area of the law I want to pursue. As I continue to ponder this question, I decided to explore the different ways I can get more exposure to the different areas of law. Below is a list of approaches to widen exposure to the different practice areas of law.     Clinics Many law schools have clinics that serve as a…

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