2014 writers in residence
Research Makeover: The Tips, Tricks and Trade of Legal Research in the Digital Age
With all the ease-of-research that online resources can offer, the sheer volume of online resources today can actually make effective and efficient online legal research a daunting task. Yet, like it or not, effective research skills are a core component of the competent representation of clients. In this column, Ashley Ahlbrand, the Educational Technology Librarian at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, will offer tips and tricks for tackling common legal research problems to help you develop or enhance your research skills. Articles will also sift through the wealth of available electronic resources, highlighting both tried-and-true sites as well as new and emerging sites, to help you identify reliable sources of online legal research.
Through the Looking Glass-Observations at Five Years Out
The practice of law is hard. Whether you are just starting out or midway through your career—small firm, big law, corporate, or government—what you quickly learn is that it takes more than graduating in the top 10% of your class to succeed in this profession. In the five years since I graduated from law school, I have observed that successful lawyers—and successful women specifically—value tenacity, flexibility, compassion, guidance, confidence, patience, excellence, leadership, connections, class, respect, and, above all else, authenticity. Over the next year, I will explore each of these in depth by sharing my personal experiences, interviewing successful women and men, and turning the conversation to you, the readers. In this way, I hope to invite others to the dialogue and to advance the conversation about the challenges and rewards of being a female attorney.
Sex & Money
As a lawyer that works with people with complex debt problems, Jeena doesn't shy away from difficult conversations. In fact, she loves talking about those taboo subjects we aren't supposed to discuss in polite company like sex, money and death. However, she firmly believes we all benefit and gain strength by talking about these difficult topics. In addition to her law practice, Jeena teaches Mindfulness Meditation to lawyers. She's currently working on her second book, The Anxious Lawyer, for the American Bar Association (ABA). Jeena's column will cover Sex - issues surrounding having (or not having children), balancing law practice, family, and marriage. She'll also write about Money - how to manage it, how to repay student loans, and planning for the future.
de minimis per se
Interviews with women lawyers in Northeastern Oklahoma on the ins and outs of practicing in small markets.
Law & (Dis)Order: Public Interest
After an unexpected change in career trajectory, I find myself back on the job hunt. This column will describe the highs and lows of the job search, coping with unemployment, and fielding questions (from both family and prospective employers). It is sure to be an interesting trip to full-time, public interest employment, so whether you come for the recommendations or the anecdotes, I'll enjoy your company!
Some of us love to embrace our uniqueness and enjoy deviating from the norm. In this column I will write about my experience creating my own path into the legal profession including some "had I known then what I know now" insight; and I will occasionally interview other successful women who dared to be different on their journey to law, or in using their law degree in a nontraditional way.
Mentors and sponsors matter in your life. Here women share how having mentors and sponsors has driven their career success and how being a mentor has enriched their lives. Sometimes the process of getting a mentor or the mechanics of being one seems overwhelming, but the truth
is that mentors, teachers and even sponsors are all around you. When you start looking at life as a classroom, and really become intent on finding the teachers who you can hear and who motivate you, your curiosity will take you to new heights. And as a mentor, you will gain appreciation for your gifts, talents and experiences that you would not have if you never shared your life with others. The process is enriching all around. You get what you give. This column is about the karma of mentoring, and the tangible stories of life enhancement that mentoring relationships provide to those willing to take the plunge.
Not Practicing, Running the Game
As women who dreamed of becoming lawyers, we struggled to find role models in our desired profession who looked like us. Our blog aims to present readers with a chance to read about women of color with JDs engaged in a variety of professions. Expanding our focus to include lawyers operating in nonlegal professions, we will highlight the accomplishments of a diverse community of women through conducting monthly interviews. The women we plan to interview do not practice in the legal profession; they are busy in other fields, running the game.
Dispatches from the Y Chromosome
Ok, first things first, I'm not a woman. I’m not trying to be deceptive about that. Next, if I’m not a woman, what am I doing here? "Dispatches from the Y Chromosome" is an exploration of some the professional and, because they can’t help but overlap, personal territory that separates men and women in the legal profession. I’ll conduct this exploration through a series of interviews with women lawyers in various careers from BigLaw to in-house to public interest to careers outside of law. As a younger man (I’m 35 – is that still “younger?”) I’ve been intrigued by the “Lean In” movement and the dialogue it has inspired about work-life balance, the growing presence of women in the legal workplace, and the gaps that separate men and women on these issues. Also, as the child of a woman who defied our local and religious norms to attend law school while having children, and as a man who has spent most of his professional life working for, under, and with women, I have a somewhat unique perspective on women and the law. I hope to use my opportunity as a writer-in-residence here on Ms. JD to open up a dialogue about these issues if not between all men and women then certainly between younger men and younger women. Please don’t hesitate to share feedback, friendly, critical, or otherwise.
No Longer Extraordinary
Women have been admitted to the bar since the late 19th century—but even today women face challenges as lawyers. Although it is “no longer extraordinary” (as Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it), for a woman to be in “a place of importance,” women attorneys are still paid less than men, are under-represented in the judiciary, in our legislatures, and as partners in law firms, and tend to be over-represented in lower-paid law jobs. Exploring some of the challenges women face in the legal jobs market.
The JD's Life Coach
On the surface, The JD's Life Coach column is about personal development and life hacks for lady attorneys and law students. But really? It's about giving you permission to take care of yourself -- in the workplace and your personal life. It's written for women who are looking for more in their day-to-day lives -- women who struggle to prioritize their happiness, health and dreams. By the end of 2014, you'll have learned how to put yourself first by setting and achieving meaningful goals, reducing stress, embracing your strengths and weaknesses, discovering your (not so) hidden talents and just cutting yourself some slack sometimes. And best of all, you'll learn that you're not alone in this crazy legal world.
Welcome to Litigating Mommy! This column chronicles my monthly adventures as a civil litigation attorney who also happens to be a mother of two children under the age of five. I’ve quickly learned in the last few years that the issues I encounter as a parent often mirror those I face as a litigator. If you’ve ever found yourself cross-examining a four-year-old in an effort to find out why his little sister is suddenly crying, you know exactly what I mean! Resolving a dispute between two children over the last cookie in the cookie jar isn’t all that different from negotiating a settlement in a tort case when you really think about it. I think the lessons I’ve learned as a litigating mommy can be helpful for attorneys and mothers alike, and I hope you find the information both valuable AND entertaining!
This Bridge, This Back, This Baggage
This column’s primary mission is to assist women in the legal profession in building confidence in who they are and however they identify themselves. I have a strong conviction that career success and fulfillment, over the long-term, ultimately hinges on being the best, most confident version of one's true self. The problem is figuring out whom exactly that it is. This column will provide to women ways to use their personal identities as a strength throughout their legal education and as they enter their careers, through the relation of current events, legal advances, theories of race, feminism and politics as well as personal and vicarious anecdotes. As Gloria Anzaldua wrote in the Foreword to This Bridge Called My Back, the book that inspired this column, I hope that I can give to readers, "baskets of hope, love, self-nourishment, and to step lightly," to fill their spirits as they advance themselves and the field.
Supreme Court Sidebar
In records number, women are the advocates arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court, the judges deciding those cases and the parties bringing those cases. This column will highlight those cases and the women behind them.
The Artful Lawyer: Exploring and Celebrating Creativity in the Legal Profession
Let’s face it. Developing or maintaining our creativity while practicing law can be a challenge. After all, the practice of law requires long hours at the office, and is wrought with legal rules and procedures, all of which can sometimes seem like the antithesis of a creative life. But I have discovered that choosing to practice law does not mean that we have to shut off our creative sides. Throughout the year, The Artful Lawyer will share practical strategies for exercising your creativity both in and outside of the office, introduce lawyers who have successfully tapped into their creativity while practicing law, and highlight legal careers for the creatively inclined.
Have JD, Will Travel
This column explores the ups and downs of a recent law school graduate's adventure in building a career that combines her passions for social justice, international development, and transformative education. Join me as I travel the world building a nontraditional legal career, cultivating my skills in international development, and challenging myself by living the change I wish to see in various countries. The ending is not sure and the ride is sometimes bumpy, but everyone can learn some valuable lessons (both personal and professional) along the way!
Life Beyond 1L
Life Beyond 1L is a column for students seeking to maximize the rest of their law school careers in the classroom and beyond. Topics and interviews include scheduling, internships, clinics, mentors, women in the law, and much more. Because the column is authored by a student in DC, it will also offer perspective on opportunities there that students in other parts of the country may be interested in exploring during their summers or after graduation.
Not Your Average Hearsay
Live, Laugh, Love...Eat! Alright, "Eat" may not actually be part of the saying, but good food definitely makes everything more enjoyable, especially in tough and stressful times. Unfortunately, many of us lose sight of these important objectives while on our journey through law school. Whether it be trudging through finals or attending networking events, we all need to keep in mind that there are many different pathways to success. Please join me in my column, Not Your Average Hearsay, in which I will recount my successes and failures in law school, the unique ways I have gotten those elusive interviews, and how food as well as having the right perspective has helped me through it all.