ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: Season of Change

I have a love-hate relationship with change. I enjoy small changes that tweak my view of the world just a bit. I love, for example, to rearrange furniture and buy colorful throw pillows to highlight the changing seasons. Big changes take much more effort and are as scary as they are invigorating. I switched firms in September after working for the same firm for over four years. That was a big, life-altering change. As big changes are, it has been exciting, exhilarating, and scary. Saying goodbye to my colleagues at my old firm might have been the most difficult part.…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: Torn

There is a flier on my fridge that makes me feel guilty every time I look at it. It is an invitation from C’s school to come read to his class. I haven’t signed up yet because I am not in the position these days to leave the office for a couple hours on a random weekday. I’d love to read to C’s class in the library. But I just can’t right now, so I feel guilty. It has been suggested that “like most women,” I’d prefer not to work. That’s not true either. I love my career, and while…

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ClaireJames

Ms. JD: Who You Know

We’ve all heard “success is about who you know.” I used to think this phrase referred to those who easily rise to success because their mom or dad ushered them along their own well-worn path. In sorority days, these people were called “legacies.”  In the career world, we call the concept nepotism. In law school, our career services department really drilled in on “networking.” The idea was that “who you know” is the best way to get a job. Since my network involved very few attorneys, I figured that method wasn’t going to work for me. I privately wished my…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: To be or Not to be….a Jerk

In Texas, and in many states, applicants to the Bar have to prove they are of “good moral character.” Nevertheless, lawyers are often described as blood-suckers, ambulance chasers, snakes, jerks, or liars. We, as a profession, have a nasty stereotype. Some commentators believe we are trained to be jerks, at least to each other. Recently, Jeena Cho wrote an interesting blog post titled Stop Training Lawyers to be Jerks. Ms. Cho described one of her mentors, whose “tactic was to be the most aggressive man in the room, to be the most boisterous and to never give an inch.” So,…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: What kind of law do you want to practice?

Rising 1L’s, get ready to hear that question from your new classmates, your family, your friends, and your mentors. Rising 2L’s, I’m sure you already know you’re about to hear that question a lot during OCI and all year long in interviews. Many of my fellow associates still ask themselves this question. So what’s your answer? If you’re anything like I was, you aren’t quite sure. My goal is to give you a starting point to making this big decision. As you’re thinking about what kind of law you want to practice, you should also think about where you want…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: Changing the World, One Case at a Time

In the next five days, the United States Supreme Court will hand down what I think will be one of the most significant decisions of our time. Tomorrow or Monday, SCOTUS is expected to issue its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court will answer 1). Whether the 14th Amendment requires a state to license marriage between two people of the same sex; and 2). Whether the 14th Amendment requires a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. One of my mentors (and bosses), Shelly Skeen, has given me a lot of…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: Babies on the Brain

I must confess: I have babies on the brain. C. is six years old and just “graduated” from kindergarten. There’s no more pretending he’s a baby. When I think of him as an infant, I get that stomach-dropping nostalgia that epitomizes the term "bittersweet." When I look at pictures of him as a toddler, I sometimes get teary-eyed. My little baby is not a baby anymore. People have started asking, “are you going to have more kids?” Some bolder people have even started telling me we should have more kids. On top of that, Facebook has made me acutely aware…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: Winning the 1L Game

My son was 7 months old when I started law school. He was cute as he could be but barely slept a wink. I was a single mom, and I commuted at least an hour each way to school. I was competing with a group of very intelligent students, most of whom did not have sleepless infants at home. Somehow, I managed to finish 1L year with better grades than I had hoped for. I’d like to say I did well because I have a superior legal mind, but that’s not the case. I did well because I learned the…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.:  Succeeding at Work but Causing Havoc in the Home?

I listen to a segment called “Second Date Update” on my local morning radio show. A man or woman will call after having a great first date and never getting a second date. The hosts talk to both daters to find out what happened and try to set up a second date. Recently, a woman (we’ll call her Jennifer) called. Jennifer had an amazing first date with a guy (we’ll call him Mark) she met at a sandwich shop. Sparks flew. Jennifer was smitten. She was confused when Mark never returned her calls. Mark agreed they had a wonderful time.…

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ClaireJames

Mommy, Esq.: Good Things Come in Small Packages

Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond? Is bigger better? Or do good things come in small packages? When it comes to law firm size, there is no right answer. It is a matter of preference. What’s your preference? To help you brainstorm, here are some highs and lows of small-firm life. The Highs Exciting Experience Early On As a first-year associate, I helped research and write briefs to the Texas Supreme Court. When the case was accepted for oral argument, I got to go to the oral argument and help…

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