The Status Quo is Just a Suggestion

I remember early on as a 1L very clearly (and repeatedly) seeing the image of a sea of people wearing sensible blue suits- my fellow classmates. Its energy felt more like an agitated in a swarm really; arguably racing to grab a prized summer associate position; seeking confirmation that they were on THE RIGHT PATH, so to speak- and thinking to myself, This is not me. To be honest, the whole situation concerned me at the time. I didn’t have an objective basis for this realization, and I certainly didn’t know what other options were available for me to pursue. All I had was a visceral level feeling that the law firm associate to partnership configuration- which back then was presented as the only professional path to take in the early 90s when I was a student- did not resonate. This was further solidified by my overall experience of a traumatizing year as a woman of color at a law school in the South where an absence of a built-in constituency rooting for my success largely contributed to the sense of being an outsider looking in. While I found myself navigating a quieter, and less populated path, it allowed me to assess (traditional) professional opportunities at the time through the lens of how well they aligned with the truth of my being vs. viewing them as automatic mandates of a course of action to pursue. I still proceed in the same way today.

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