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Ms. Pre-JD: Learning the Value of Authenticity in 2017

After reading the application requirements for the 2018 Writers-in-Residence program, I was reminded of career advice I received this past Summer that permanently changed my path: “You have to be really good at what you do and you have to look for opportunities to expand what you do.” A simple answer from Esta Stecher, in response to someone asking the million-dollar question: “How can we become as successful as you have been? Any tips?” The answer was so simple that you could hear the eye-rolls from people around me, as they remarked on how obvious the advice was. For me,…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Reflections on Becoming a Ms. JD

Now that we are so close to the year’s end, I thought it might be time to reflect on what I’ve learned about becoming a woman with a JD this year. Through conversations with attorneys, both candid and hyper-professional, personal experiences, and discussions with other pre-law students, I’ve found that the personal is often the political, and many of the things I’m struggling with now are not unique to my path. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten this year from other women with JDs… Plan for where you want your life to go, both personally and professionally – that…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Lessons from the MCCA Pathways Conference

I had been planning for this month’s post to be about getting organized, because that’s what I’ve been working on in my personal life. In the last few days, though, I was inspired to rewrite. I spent the early part of this week volunteering at the MCCA Pathways Conference, and although I didn’t have much time to sit into sessions, I was able to learn quite a lot. Make success inevitable. Almost everyone is intimated by the prospect of networking, including myself. As a volunteer at Pathways, though, I was joined by a friend of mine who introduced herself to…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Goals for a Successful Fall Semester

Fall always marks the beginning of school for me. I know the leaves change color and pumpkin spice lattes return to Starbucks, but as a college student in Manhattan, I don’t see the leaves and I make my own coffee to save money. What I do encounter often are the surface of my dorm room desk and the reading rooms of the library, places I haven’t had to visit in months. Students are lucky for many reasons, but I think this is one of the best parts about learning full-time: you get to have multiple New Year’s Days. One on…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Interview with NY AAG Kristen Vogel

This past Spring and Summer, during my internship in the Attorney General’s Litigation Bureau, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Vogel served as a model for the approach I hope to bring to my professional life. My primary lesson from her about soft skills as a female professional was an unspoken one: there is a delicate balance that should come naturally. Kristen always spoke her mind, but made it clear that her opinions were unbiased. She dealt with everyone in the same way, had patience, and stated otherwise negative things in a matter of fact way. While I may have been afraid…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Career Trajectory Reflections

(First, I hope everyone enjoyed the Fourth – belatedly, Happy Independence Day!) If I’m being honest, I can’t wait for school to start again. I always remember the shiniest parts of the semester, the perfectly organized reading schedules and new, unedited syllabi, my color-coordinated calendar and a refilled set of black gel pens. The glamour lasts for about two weeks of the semester, and then it gives way to a much more havoc-filled (and realistic) mess. On a more typical Monday morning, my reading isn’t done, I can’t find a single pen, and I’ve forgotten to put any of my…

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Ms. Pre-JD: The Gap

I had planned to write an extensive article on how to network this month (find another amazing article about networking this summer here), but in line with last month’s post, I’m offering a step back from the constant career talk. Instead of thinking about my career trajectory, I want to extend the definition of pre-law to include the years after undergrad and before law school. Now that I’m headed into my junior year, I have only two types of pre-law friends: the ones ordering copious numbers of LSAT books and the ones still smiling because they plan to take a…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Setting Summer Internship Goals

With Summer right around the corner, I thought it was time to discuss what to do at your internship versus how to get in the door. I’ll admit that, at my first internship, I did not speak to anyone in the office outside of my boss, the internship coordinator, the secretary, and the security guards. Of course, if anyone else greeted me, I would smile and return in kind. But I never made conversation, or asked if I could help with any of their projects…and I certainly didn’t ask about their kids, their weekend, or anything personal. Why? For the…

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Ms. Pre-JD: How Important is ‘Fun’?

At a panel hosted by the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, I had a chance to hear from two attorneys and a law school student about their respective professional journeys. All three, unsurprisingly, commented that law school was challenging and fulfilling. They also all found that they owed their success to a degree of good fortune during their undergraduate, law school, or job searching years, something that I’m sure we all hope to experience. Surprisingly, though, they all also remarked that their undergraduate years could have done with more of one thing: Fun. Of course, different internships or classes may have…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Becoming a Frequent-Applier

Around this time in the year is when, as a pre-law student, I really start feeling the pressure. If you don’t know why this is, I imagine you haven’t delved headfirst into the pre-law internship search yet! The excitement at seeing a posting, even an unpaid one, from a major law firm is always tempered five minutes later with irritation at the words “Marketing Intern”, or “Accounting Intern”. Even so, I do have a list of places that I usually try when on the hunt for an internship. While you are probably not going to get paid (in money) for the…

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