ABA Journal

My Path to Law

21 ABA Journal My Path to Law articles.

From Defendant to Attorney: My journey to the other side of the justice system

“The year was 2005. I was 27 and securely set in my ways; however, God had another plan for my life. By then, I was no stranger to the justice system, having been a defendant in most courts throughout Wayne County. … This time, however, I was at the center of a drug sting operation with a confidential informant and marked money. I was facing up to 20 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for delivery of a controlled substance.”

BigLaw litigation partner uses his platform to fight for civil rights

In law school, my plan was this: Spend two to three years at a large law firm and then return to my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, to practice civil rights law and run for public office. But life doesn’t always go exactly as planned, and my trajectory turned into an improbable 34-year journey in BigLaw, where I found my path and have made the kind of difference I always hoped for.

The power of my hearing loss

To many, it may seem ironic that a deaf judge presides over hearings. Although I navigate the world as a South Asian Muslim woman with hearing loss, seeing my disability as my power is what shaped my path to law.

Support and sacrifice paved the way for teen mom to eventually become a lawyer

The label “teen mom” can carry negative connotations. No one would expect someone who came from a poor background and had a child before she even became an adult to beat the odds and accomplish her dream of becoming an attorney. By sharing her story, lawyer Jasmine Grant wants others to know that they are capable of so much more than what society may believe.

Lawyer fights for human rights in the nation of Georgia

“Being a female lawyer in Georgia is a constant struggle against stereotypes. Many people brag about our cultural traditions for respecting women in my country, but in reality, these traditions are used to marginalize women from community decision-making,” writes Anna Arganashvili, a human rights lawyer.

Choice and Fate: Why I’m glad my first job offer was rescinded

When I finally had the opportunity to encounter the solo practitioner who rescinded my job offer, he approached me first, stating something like: “I am glad to see that you landed with Plunkett Cooney, it’s a really good firm. I withdrew the offer because you deserved a job like this and needed to wait for it to come along.”

Surmounting hidden disabilities: Challenges need not be barriers

During law school, Emily Cox struggled with countless seizures, numerous medication changes, and having her license to drive rescinded. But she was fortunate to be in a school that cared about her disability with an administration that made sure she had the resources she needed to succeed.

Lawyer with autism finds her voice

With the help of her parents, Haley Moss overcame the stereotypes associated with autism to become a published author and a lawyer.

A natural migration: Descendant of immigrants works to protect civil rights

Many migrant men, women and children are fleeing their homelands to seek safety from violence. My maternal and paternal family members migrated to the United States from Mexico in search of opportunity and with hopes of realizing a dream.

State appeals judge challenged biases as first person with cerebral palsy to argue before SCOTUS

Nobody, except my mother, perhaps, thought I could become a lawyer. I was born in 1963 with cerebral palsy, which, even after many surgeries and much physical therapy, left me with only one functioning arm and a severe speech impediment.

Straddling two identities as a lawyer and DACA recipient

Zain Sayed is an employment attorney in Illinois, one of only about 10 states that admit DACA recipients to the bar.

Beating the odds, lawyer mentors at-risk youth

Charla Claypool, a member of the litigation department of Lewis Rice in St. Louis, notes her work mentoring and guiding youth, especially at-risk young women.

Legal director of Lambda Legal has spent her life pursuing LGBT rights

Sharon McGowan is the chief strategy officer and legal director of Lambda Legal, which is committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and individuals living with HIV.

This lawyer’s blindness led him to a tech-focused law practice

Looking back, I was extremely fortunate but too oblivious to realize it. When interviewing for associate positions, I was usually asked, “How can you practice law being blind?” I think most who asked that question didn’t have a clue. At the time, however, I thought they were just asking for my strategy.

JAG Corps captain’s journey took him from Bushido to the bar

Shane Blank’s law career was influenced by Bushido: The Soul of Japan, a book written by Inazo Nitobe in 1899. The samurai code inspired Blank to embrace adversity, join the the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps and discover in law the ways of the warrior.

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