I started writing law review articles in mid-career, after many years of publishing academic articles in STEM journals. Arriving to academic law with an outsider’s perspective (my PhD is in engineering; I have a faculty appointment at UCLA in both engineering and law), I was surprised to learn that law is an exception among academic disciplines in relation to authorship of scholarly works. In most other disciplines, it is routine—and in fact expected—for faculty to co-author scholarly publications with graduate students.
It dawned on me that although the law is indeed a jealous mistress, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story famously said, it also is flexible, and retirement doesn’t have to be abrupt. After much consideration, I realized I didn’t have to quit the law “cold turkey.” In fact, lawyers can retire in stages, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
During lunch on my first day as a first-year associate at a large international law firm almost 15 years ago, one of the partners in my practice group gave me one of the bluntest pieces of career advice I’ve received: “No one cares more about your career than you do.”
There is always going to be the "just one question" potential client who makes initial contact with you. Often, they may not paint the whole story for you, and you in turn may give advice on incomplete facts. In essence, you may well find yourself in a dilemma.
During my first year of law school, I wanted to get involved in disability advocacy with other students and lawyers, primarily as it related to neurodiversity. Before law school, I was pretty entrenched in the autism advocacy scene: I spoke at my first conference when I was 13, wrote a book that was published while I was still in high school and had another book come out while I was in college.
In January 2011, I presided over a jury trial in which a 14-year-old child was sexually assaulted and brutally killed by a neighbor who left her body in a trash bag in a field. Daily, I was completely overwhelmed by what I was seeing and hearing and by the stressors of managing the proceedings.
When my daughter was in college back in the '90s, she knew I was a lawyer specializing in health law. She knew I had left private practice after 20 years to become general counsel of a large statewide hospital system. And she knew I spent my workdays at a desk reading, writing and talking on the phone.
As a law school reference librarian, I field a lot of questions from law students working at internships, externships and summer jobs. Over the years, I’ve seen some recurring issues with the research assignments given to law students, and I thought it might be helpful to discuss some of them here.
Mentorship. This one word can cause many a tough, battle-worn attorney to cringe. For many seasoned attorneys, the idea of being a mentor just sounds like you are being asked to add more hours of work to an already overloaded schedule. But before you reject the idea, consider the benefits that come with such a role.