Law school prom: it’s at the national aquarium. Be jealous. Be very jealous.
That awkward moment when your law school textbook problem set made a really bad pun at the expense of big law firms (just say the name out loud)
*sits down to write a legal memo*
…30 minutes later, what progress have I achieved?
…I opened microsoft word.
….Had class at 7:45 pm and forgot.
…just looked at the clock. it’s 7:47.
Oh well…I guess I’m skipping.
showing my law clinic partner how to use dropbox was probably the worst decision for my procrastinating self I have ever made.
Now I can see when she’s working on our shit.
So now I feel guilty and am reminded that I am not working on our shit.
There should be more screenshots of Justice League on lawblr blogs.
If only for this stunning example of criminal defense lawyering, courtesy of the Flash.
Also hey look say what you will about the American Criminal Justice system but at least we still have non-dead lawyers.
(for my younger followers…phi beta kappa is not a legal term. Or even a latin term. It is, in fact, the greek letter name for the oldest academic honor society in the American university system…and clearly, the Flash was not a member)
"True Life: I never expected my Law Journal to Accept and Decide to Publish My Article that I wrote While I was Cranky and Drunk"
So recently I was chosen to be a student attorney for a clinic at my law school. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it basically means that I am doing real legal representation for credit, temporarily allowed and sworn in for the semester, provided certain conditions are met (one of which is a supervising attorney present with me in the courtroom).
The way my clinic is arranged, you are paired up with somebody and together you work as co-counsel to represent a real client. Today we had to fill out forms where they asked us questions so that they could pair us up (transportation, what we wanted to do project-wise, etc. they already had our schedules). They also asked if we could (confidentially) list the names of people we thought we could work well with, and people we thought we couldn’t.
Here’s the thing: There is only one other Asian girl in the group. essentially, the group is majority white girls, with three Black girls, two white guys, and two Asian girls (me and another girl). After writing down three specific names, and then underneath writing “(pretty much everyone),” I only listed the other Asian girl as somebody I didn’t want to work with.
….And I felt really guilty about that.
Here’s the thing: this girl is the only other girl that went straight from college to law school, like me. She also looks very young. She has a noticeable accent (she came over from Korea when she was 13). She wears very heavy eyeliner in a manner that many judges could possibly view as unprofessional. She has not taken family law and she doesn’t have any trial ad experience (at least, she hasn’t taken the class). I was paired with her at the beginning of the semester, and while we got along well, I wasn’t sure if we could work well together because of the differences in our experience AND because of the similarities in physical appearance between us.
When we were working together for a mock trial during orientation, she and I inadvertently ended up answering the “judge” in unison, standing up in unison. Everybody laughed (I agree, it was funny) but at the same time, do I want to be put in a situation where the court will see us and think about stereotypes of tiny asian women, speaking in unison, being quiet and nonconfrontational?
Because here’s the thing: Your image in the courtroom is often as important as your argumentative legal rhetoric skills. Some judges are OK. Some are good ole boys. Same with juries…you never know what you’ll get.
This bothers me, because I want to be like “ASIAN SOLIDARITY! LET’S STICK TOGETHER!”
But I can’t help but think that if opposing counsel (if there is opposing counsel) or opposing parties would view us as easy targets, try to take advantage of us all the time, try to play unfair because they think we’ll take it. And the images the judges we argue in front of will have of us—will they be able to remember us? Tell us apart? Sure, it’s racism, but it’s not like I can go up to a judge and be like “REMEMBER ME SEPARATELY OTHERWISE YOU’RE BUYING INTO ORIENTALISM”
it’s hard enough to get respect and non-condescending alone. I have worked hard to get to the point where I can exude confidence, especially during trial, whenever I talk. I have a lot of theater training, and I use all of that to my advantage to dispel stereotypes. But another Asian girl, particularly one with little trial experience and an accent, might mean embarassing moments in court. Mixing us up. Asking us where we’re from. Asking us if we’re related. Things I’d rather avoid.
And so it’s like: given the choice between professional advancement and experience, and racial solidarity, which would you choose?
And there are pros and cons to the situation. Somebody who understands my family dynamic would be nice, somebody my own age who could understand what I’m talking about when I make references to things would be nice. But that’s not really enough for me to say, “We’re all in this together.” I like her as a person. She’s super sweet and I think she’s got this eagerness to work which so many people lack in law school—but I don’t want to be known as the “Asian team” and I don’t want us to be associated together because I am so scared of never being able to smash stereotypes and form my own identity.
So I guess the entire point of this is that not everybody can afford to take these high minded ideals and apply them to their life. And not everybody faces the same sort of race-related circumstances. Certainly I think it would be different if we were of a different ethnicity. But while I feel guilty about just listing her name, I don’t feel as bad as I would if I were placed with her and put in a situation where we were facing intimidation tactics and weird asian-oriented racism.
And I think that’s OK.
I think it’s ok to think about self-preservation and your career when you look at your own personal decisions and if that’s OK then what I did was probably OK.
But also it’s OK because I think I can be a much more effective advocate for social change if I work without her, if we develop separate legal identities in the courtroom. Because I think that we could BOTH smash stereotypes with SEPARATE STYLES (that’s the thing: one of the biggest factors motivating racism is the western idea of the Asian monolith—that we all think and act alike). So in this situation, solidarity is actually SEPARATENESS.
And that’s interesting and thought provoking but also says a lot about our system of racial oppression and stereotypes because every single goddamn factor for the future involves race and stereotypes and how to break them down and it’s just like ugh we would have had so much fun working together but we would have gone through hell.