Category Archives: Navigating a Career in Law

How do you learn to be an associate?

Excellent lawyer stock photo.

Dear reader,

I had the chance to chat recently with an outstanding former student who is starting work as an associate at a law firm.  This student described some of the challenges that I remember from my own time as an associate.  With the benefit of hindsight, I shared some thoughts on strategies that I wish I had employed myself (but didn’t).  I’m going to repeat that here along with some wisdom shared by former students.

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Lawyers; Golf; Martinis

I read J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” for the first time just a few months ago.  I’m not certain why I didn’t read it earlier.  It’s hard to believe that the book would have still been viewed as “controversial” by the late 1980s, when I was in highschool.  But it may have been, or perhaps there was an entirely different reason it was absent from the curriculum.

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Who are the Outsiders?

Usually translated as “The Stranger,” this choice of language conveys a significantly different meaning.

Recently I was talking with some of my colleagues, discussing the need to empower students to make informed decisions about how to best pursue their legal education.  And my colleagues expressed surprise at my belief that students need to be empowered.  So I started to examine the basis for my assumption.

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Double Consciousness, Professionalism, and Table Manners

Check yourself.

I recently started attending a Critical Race Theory (CRT) reading group at DU; we are one meeting in and it has already been very worthwhile.  CRT was of course around when I was in law school in the late 90s, but honestly, I would bet I read more CRT before going to law school than during it.  In fact, the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, an anthology of essays that came out following those hearings (“Race-ing Justice; En-gendering Power,” edited by Toni Morrison, and Patricia Williams‘ “The Alchemy of Race and Rights“) were all motivating factors in my decision to attend law school.  I naively thought that the critical mindset set forth in these writings would be a starting point for the study of law.  I was, needless to say, very, very wrong about this.
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Our Mistress, Stress.

stress 2

I am somewhat obsessed with the hidden cultural messages in the results of Google Images searches.  There are any number of wonderful/horrible images associated with the word “stress,” but this has to be the most fantastic by far.  Without bothering to find out why the image was actually there, I speculate: Is the cow stressed because he (no utter) is being required to perform outside of his natural environment?  Or is this a happy heifer who has shed society’s expectations to pursue his dream?  At any rate, it makes me laugh—a proven “stress-buster.”

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Community and Movement

Since beginning this project I never cease to be amazed at the breadth and diversity of the movement to humanize legal education and other related movements.  I think many of you would be very interested in “Cutting Edge Law” a blog/on-line magazine with the following mission:

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Law Student and Lawyer Stories

At the outset of today’s post, I would like to thank Prof. Larry Krieger for taking the time to visit my blog and to provide me with additional resources to better understand the movement to humanize legal education.  As I delve into the subject in more depth, be sure to check out the comprehensive set of links and resources on the blog roll to the right.

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