Julie Schaffer

Blog Article

Being female is a non-issue

As a woman entering the legal profession, I am hopeful and encouraged. Thus far in my legal education and externship experiences I have been surrounded by capable and confident women. I am encouraged to see that being female, at least in my legal experience, is essentially a non-issue. In applying for jobs, positions on law review, research positions with professors, and other competitive ventures, as well as in signing up for classes, my female colleagues and I have never once discussed our being female. Rather, our conversations focus on our individual qualifications and interests. I simply have not seen women…

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Carol Simpson

Blog Article

Generation gap or gender gap? Mother and son enroll in law school together

Being an older woman in entering the legal profession has been an interesting experience. It is difficult to determine if my experiences are more a factor of my gender or my age, but I know that my experiences have been significantly different from those of my son, with whom I am attending the same law school in the same class. Having a background as a professor in another professional school dominated by women, I see considerable differences in how women are treated and welcomed to the profession.The first difference is in how novices are hired and trained. In my previous…

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Roya

Blog Article

Do not forget why you came to law school

Since the first day of law school, my law school professors have conveyed words of wisdom. However, one professor in particular gave me advice that continues to provide me guidance when I am overwhelmed with my studies or unsure as to what direction to take. His advice was simple yet profound: Do not forget why you came to law school. The first month I kept thinking how anyone could forget why they came to law school. I came to law school, because I want to have the ability to use the law to help people. I want to be part…

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Manamana

Blog Article

Billables: on their way out?

Over at the WSJ Law Blog, they have a post up today entitled "The Billable Hour: Still the Lead Dog, But Gaining Competition" on some changes to the standard billing practice of law firms, namely the alternative practice of using fixed fees for legal services: “Cisco, a leader in the area of so-called alternative billing, now farms out 70% to 75% of its annual legal budget, estimated at $125 million, under fixed-fee arrangements.” This follows a speech on the state of technology in the law by Cisco’s General Counsel, Mark Chandler (mentioned earlier here) in which he highlighted the decrepit…

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kmsosa

Blog Article

Racism v. Sexism

For the past week it has been impossible to visit a news website or to watch CNN or MSNBC for more than 5 minutes without some comment on the Don Imus affair. Referring to a group of 18-22 year old black women as "nappy-headed hos" is of course offensive, even from a so-called "shock jock". But offensive statements and overtones abound in popular media and culture. What about rap music? The few times I have actually read the lyrics to certain rap songs, I have been literally shocked and often disgusted by the things being said. I still listen to…

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jessie

Blog Article

The Personal is Political (and Confusing)

Boyfriend and I are both third year law students. For three job application rounds in a row (2 summers and a clerkship) Boyfriend’s stayed here where we go to law school, while I’ve taken a job elsewhere. Each time that’s made sense for me, and we’ve survived the temporary long distance. Each time, as luck would have it, Boyfriend has gotten his offer first and had to make a decision to stay before I had to make the decision to go. Each time the ball’s been in my court to decide between Boyfriend and my dream job. We’ve talked about…

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kirkebaby

Blog Article

Mommie knows best?

When we found out we were pregnant approximately one month after we were married and about four months before my husband was set to start his MBA in a different city than my job was located, I knew life would never be the same. I thought I always knew what I wanted: a career and a family. A perfect balance. I was going to be Martha Stewart by nights and weekends, and bad-ass corporate lawyer by day. I even chose to go in-house right out of law school, knowing my personal and family time was going to be a priority…

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Peg

Blog Article

Mentoring & Judging

I got started thinking about mentoring during one of the panels at the Ms. JD conference this weekend. I can't help but wonder why I've always seemed to have a hard time finding a mentor and holding onto her. Whenever I've been somebody's mentor it didn't pan out as I'd imagined either. In fact, the most successful mentor/mentee relationships that I've ever had have been with men. However, I recognize that finding a woman mentor is extremely important and that, someday, being a productive mentor to another woman will also crucial. The panelists at the particular session that I am…

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bethb

Blog Article

Law: A Trade or a Profession?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, two female professors from Boston University Law School addressed this issue. Apparently, in a prior article, Cameron Stracher, publisher of New York Law School Law Review and co-director of the program in Law & Journalism, berated legal education and the qualification of law students. He argued that practicing law does not require intellectual work, that it is a skill acquirable by mere practice and repetition. Stracher discussed a paralegal who practiced law without a license, summarizing his view: “He blustered, bluffed, threatened and cajoled with the best of them. He knew the law…

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jessie

Blog Article

Waste Not, Want Not?

One of my female law professors told me that out of her group of female friends from law school (Harvard, Class of 1996), she’s the only one still working. At first I was just depressed. I mean why am I busting my butt when chances are I’ll probably just abandon the law in ten years time? My second reaction was to be pissed—not at social forces or institutions that influence these women’s life choices, but at these women! These women were gobbling up precious spots at Harvard Law School, which could have gone to other women who actually planned to…

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