U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Sotomayor Offers Career Advice for Women Lawyers Facing Slights

Justice Sonia Sotomayor offered career advice to law students on Thursday, including advice on how women lawyers should deal with slights.

Starting out, a judicial clerkship is the best way to learn the law, Sotomayor said. Sotomayor said she wishes she had clerked for a judge after law school graduation. “You can learn more in one year of clerking than you learn in eight years of practicing at a firm,” she said. The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Associated Press reported on Sotomayor’s remarks at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

And brush up those writing skills. Sotomayor said she pays special attention to writing when choosing law clerks.

A female law student asked Sotomayor about the best way to respond to slights aimed at women, according to the Inquirer account. Sotomayor said sometimes slights are unintentional, and the response should vary accordingly. “It’s nice to think that people do not intentionally discriminate,” she said. “I am an eternal optimist.”

According to the Inquirer story, Sotomayor advised female associates to observe the styles of the men running their offices, and to the extent possible and advisable, be like them.

Sotomayor’s appearance was part of a week-long series of special events commemorating the opening of the new 40,000-square-foot Golkin Hall at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, according to a press release. The building includes roof-top gardens, a state-of-the-art courtroom, and 350-seat auditorium.

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