2020 writers in residence

Natasha Alladina

Natasha Alladina

Practice Pointers - What I Wish I Had Learned in Law School

Law school teaches you legal theory and analysis – “how to think like a lawyer” as the saying goes.  But for most, the day-to-day practice of law remains an enigma until you start your first legal job. This column will explore some of the growing pains of practicing law and how to navigate them.  For instance, what to do if you realize that the type of practice you’re in isn’t the best match for your personality and interests; how to determine when it might be time to move to a new law firm or transition into government or non-profit work; how to use LinkedIn to build your personal brand and why your firm bio isn’t a substitute for LinkedIn; why billing a ton of hours isn’t enough and why building relationships has to be a priority from the get-go, and more. Follow along as this lawyer-turned-legal recruiter reflects on the practice pointers she wishes she had learned in law school.

Leigh Creighton Bond

Leigh Creighton Bond

Everything is Reproductive Justice

“Everything is Reproductive Justice” is the author’s ode to the reproductive justice movement.  After serving at a reproductive justice organization for three years, this column is an exciting opportunity for the author to engage in storytelling -- an integral aspect of movement work -- in order to share what the author has learned and continues to learn about the reproductive justice movement.  The author will craft stories covering issues affecting marginalized and oppressed identities because reproductive justice (or “RJ” for short) encompasses an expansive approach and inclusive framework that centers the most marginalized in order to achieve justice for all.  Finally, the author looks forward to connecting the dots between lawyering and the reproductive justice movement for Ms. JD readers, since 2020 represents the author’s re-launch into lawyering. 

Alexandra Dolce

Alexandra Dolce

Space Law: The New Frontier Awakens

Space Law is coming into the forefront of the legal industry because of technological innovation and privatization.  For instance, Virgin Galactic is planning to start taking private citizens into space within a year or two.  Further on December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which established the U.S. Space Force.  The U.S. Space Force is the sixth branch of the armed forces of the United States. Within hours after the establishment of this Branch, China accused the U.S. Space Force as being a “direct threat to peace.”  Space Law is in its infancy, but is growing by leaps and bounds (excuse the pun) because of privatization and quasi-government collaborations.  After China’s declaration, issues pertaining to war or threat of war over space assets and galactic sovereignty will also be at issue.  As such, the author will provide a preliminary introduction to Space Law and further examine emerging legal themes associated with the politics, commercialization and innovation associated with space and space travel.

Crystal Elaine Ellison

Crystal Elaine Ellison

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

I’m a mother, attorney, significant other, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc. –  Am I wearing too many hats? Learning how to juggle it all.

There may be times where we run around like a chicken with our heads cut off and we forget to take a second to determine where our true obligations lie.  Not only should you choose your battles wisely, it’s wise to assess situations and determine how much energy you plan to bestow.  This column will share with Ms. JD readers how the author juggles wearing many hats, how it affects her daily life. and how her “Type A” personality has been both a blessing and a curse.  In addition, the author will discuss and explore ways to minimize your stress level and wear your many hats well!  The author will share personal experiences regarding her struggles and successes with being multifaceted.

Desiree Goff

Desiree Goff

Becoming a Zebra

As a patent attorney and blogger at ThePatentBlawger.com, Ms. Goff loves to write about how inventions and innovations impact our daily life.  Practicing patent law requires not only a law degree but also extensive training in the sciences, such as physics, engineering, chemistry or biology.  This results in disqualifying the majority of attorneys.  Because both law and science have historically been dominated by the male gender, practicing female patent attorneys are the zebras of the herd.  However, patent law is not the only area in which law and science intersect. Technology and our ability to transact and litigate under its parameters is essential to all attorneys today and tomorrow.  Advances in science, space, and technology will necessitate continued learning as we contract, negotiate, and litigate in these fields.  This column will discuss various practice areas, encouraging readers to pursue and excel in careers in science and law, highlighting contributions made by practitioners at the intersection of these fields, and focusing on innovative and exemplary women in law and science.

Paula Jones

Paula Jones

Everything Nobody Ever Told Me

Members of the legal profession, especially women, can benefit significantly from mentorship and a sense of community, which is what the author hopes to achieve with a Ms. JD Writers in Residence Column.  This column will provide the advice and support the author wished she had received while navigating her career, which will enable readers to advance in the profession more easily and experience a greater sense of fulfillment.  With over 30 years of experience, the author has gained valuable insight and hopes this column will benefit both seasoned and younger legal professionals, as well as law students.

The author’s column will be a safe space in which the collective experiences of those in the legal profession can find practical and supportive resolutions to the kinds of obstacles that are pervasive, yet rarely discussed openly.  Topics in this column will address many facets of a successful career, including practical skills, such as staying calm during an interview and building a professional network. It will also address the personal skills that are so vital to satisfaction in one’s career, such as dealing with difficult colleagues and addressing gender bias.  Finally, self-development topics, such as fostering resilience in the face of a setback and living authentically when others disapprove will be explored.

Sally Kane

Sally Kane

The Future of Law

World-changing shifts in demographics, technology, social dynamics, work styles and business practices have fueled a host of trends in the legal industry.  As legal professionals position themselves to succeed in 2020 and beyond, understanding and adapting to these changes will help them become more efficient, productive and competitive in a global market.  The Future of Law column will cover key trends that are transforming law practice and explore how these trends impact professionals working in the legal industry.  This column will examine how artificial intelligence and emerging technologies are transforming law practice; how business pressures are changing client service, law firm management and legal service delivery models; how workforce trends and the rise of the gig economy have impacted legal roles, hiring practices and work styles; how globalization and the expansion of law practice across borders is changing the industry; and other topics relevant to the future of law practice.  

Prianka Misra

Prianka Misra

Desi Advocacy: Spotlight on South Asian Women in the Law

Desi Advocacy focuses on lawyers who identify as South Asian women and explores their motivations behind entering the legal field, the unique challenges that they face, and shares advice tailored to women of color aspiring to build their own legal careers.  This column aims to highlight diverse cultural and professional perspectives spanning across the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors, from women who are in various stages of their careers.  By sharing interviews from individuals not often represented in the industry, Desi Advocacy is committed to showcasing the variety of legal careers that South Asian women can have; identifying common and divergent experiences of South Asian women lawyers; and fostering a sense of solidarity among lawyers of color.

Carron Nicks

Carron Nicks

The Influencers

Who were the women who moved, shook, poked, prodded, and sometimes shattered the legal profession in their quest to achieve their rightful place amongst its influencers?  The legal profession can trace its roots to ancient Greece and Rome, yet women were not admitted to the practice of law in the United States until the Nineteenth Century.  Women comprise a third of the profession (and a third of the judiciary) but only 17% of equity partners and 4% of managing partners at the 200 largest law firms.  With more women than men in American law schools, how soon will the statistics change?  When will we be able to say that we have broken the glass ceiling?  In The Influencers, we examine the beginnings, the personalities, and the trends to learn how women have influenced and will continue to influence the legal profession.

Erika Stallings

Erika Stallings

Everything You Need To Know About Getting Into Entertainment Law

Ever dreamed of representing celebrities? Or negotiating deals for the next hit movie or television show? This column will provide advice and guidance to law students and early career attorneys who are seeking to enter the field of entertainment law including networking advice, key organizations to be involved with and ways to gain experience even if you don't start your career as a full time entertainment lawyer. As someone who transitioned from being a BigLaw litigator to an in-house role at the country's largest performance rights organization, the blog will explore best ways to get into and thrive in an ever changing field.

Katalin Tarjan

Katalin Tarjan

Life as a non-traditional lawyer

As a first-generation lawyer, the author earned her law degree as a second degree while working full time jobs.  The author had wanted to be a lawyer for a very long time, but knew from the beginning that she didn’t want to work in big law or, for that matter, be an attorney. Since becoming a lawyer, the author has been working as a legal professional for government agencies.  This column will explore different career trajectories for those who didn’t choose to be a lawyer to argue in court, life in non-traditional legal jobs, non-traditional ways to become a lawyer (e.g., as a second degree), dealing with demanding jobs as a legal professional and some of the differences in the profession between the US and Europe.  The author know more about the latter as her home country is Hungary. As an avid reader and learner, the author thinks that the ability to learn is the single most important skill in most professions these days, so the column will also include some learning and self-improvement tips here and there.

Sarah Valdes

Sarah Valdes

It Takes a Village

My column focuses on the importance of community in the life of the female lawyer.  Oftentimes the legal profession creates a feeling of isolation in its members.  Many of those outside of the legal profession can’t relate to the daily pressures lawyers face and many times those within the profession are taught that competition encourages room for only one at the top.  This column will discuss the importance of creating and fostering a sense of community in order to reach your full potential.  The author will discuss things like Facebook groups, professional cohorts, voluntary bar associations, social groups, fitness classes etc., and how they can serve to help you become your best self.  This column will go beyond reinforcing the notion that networking is key to success.  It will discuss how the groups to which we belong create a space for vulnerability and creativity. They also create a space in which we can gain a greater appreciation for those around us.  What does it mean to be a part of the Latin community as a female lawyer?  What is the deal with group fitness classes and why can they keep you sane?  Do you have a “work squad”?  Why is girls’ night out not a luxury, but a necessity?  This and more will be discussed because as the author’s column will reveal, in order to raise a successful lady lawyer, it takes a village.

Diane Wells

Diane Wells

A Defendant's Perspective

Years ago, the author was prosecuted for a crime that never happened.  The “bad guy” didn't get away.  There was just no crime.  The author was a well-educated wife, mother of three children working as a bank trust department real estate executive when she got the call that she was the target of a federal prosecution. 

The author started the case with a blank slate of her understanding of how the criminal justice system worked.  This column will take readers on the journey of the author’s prosecution from start to finish, including all the twists and turns that took place.  Through this experience, the author learned about and questioned the methods of our criminal justice system and its process. 

The ordeal took 6.5 years of the author’s life and while it was incredibly traumatic, good things came from the experience.  The author will share how she obtained clarity from this experience and knowledge of the workings of the criminal justice system.  The author now works to support the system that failed her.

Victoria Willingham

Victoria Willingham

Techlegality

As the tech industry continues to grow, the need for talented lawyers has become increasingly prevalent.  Techlegality will explore both traditional and alternative legal career paths in tech by capturing the essence of navigating a constantly evolving industry. Through interviews with trailblazing attorneys, readers will gain direct insight into attributes needed to shape companies and recently nonexistent areas of law.  Additionally, Techlegality will offer readers a perspective that fuels understanding by addressing industry developments and providing tips on how to break into the tech field and thrive as a legal professional.  Readers of this column should leave feeling both informed and inspired.

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