Law Professors

Tiger Mom Law Prof Didn't 'Click with the Law,' But She Didn’t Stop Trying

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The Yale law professor who wrote a book about “Tiger Mom” parenting says she didn’t like BigLaw and she didn’t like law school.

Now, in an interview with the Careerist, Professor Amy Chua credits her own parents for teaching her the value of hard work, helping her succeed even when she disliked what she was doing.

Chua was in the news last year for her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, about the lessons she learned while using strict Chinese-style parenting. Chua had described the parenting method in a column last year for the Wall Street Journal. “If a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child,” Chua wrote. “A Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong.”

At Cleary Gottlieb, Chua tells the Careerist, “I worked really hard, killing myself. Everything—legal memos, even grunt work—took me so long to do.” She got great reviews and the clients liked her, “But I felt like a fraud, pretending to be a lawyer,” she says.

Nor did she like law school. It “tore down my confidence,” she said. “I hated being called on. It’s not a discipline that comes naturally to me. I did not click with law. I’m the hardest worker, but I could not retain the information.”

Despite her misgivings, Chua was executive editor on the law review and became a law professor after 14 years of trying to break into the profession. “I think teaching is the right fit for me,” she tells the Careerist.

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