In light of Rachel Gezerseh’s recent article, Perspective: In Law, Women Need to Help Other Women, I’d like to share my own experiences as a woman soon to embark on her legal career. I met Rachel shortly after receiving several law school acceptance letters, at a time when I desperately needed guidance—but didn’t even know it.
On a warm Tuesday afternoon in late February, in between classes and a trip to the gym, I walked into a Pre-Law Society Meeting at SDSU where Rachel was presenting on BigLaw. My expectations were simple: listen intently, perhaps take a few notes, and then at conclusion of the meeting, continue on with my day. It wasn’t until I noticed how genuinely Rachel took an interest in the students in that small meeting room, how open and willing she was to offer advice, that I realized what was in front of me. It was an opportunity to speak with another woman about a career path that I had worked diligently to begin, and an opportunity to gain some insight about one of my most difficult life decisions: where to attend law school. I introduced myself to Rachel after the meeting, and for some reason, despite my gym attire and messy hair, Rachel took me seriously.
I contacted Rachel shortly after our first meeting to discuss my law school options and my plans for the future. She was honest, direct, and reassuring. She quickly set me on a track to take initiative in my law school research, and pushed me to step out of this realm of complacency where I occasionally fall. Over the course of a month I reached out to over 10 current law school students, 2 professors, 2 judges, and several working attorneys. I learned the basics of networking, and came to understand how important it would be for my future in law. I was surprised by how willing so many people were to take time out of their day to speak with me and answer my endless questions. I struggled very much with this decision over which school I would commit to for the next three years, what risks I would take, and which opportunity would prove the most valuable.
Two days after I settled into a decision, I spoke with Rachel. What I take away from that phone call truly embodies my experience thus far, and my perspective looking forward. At the end of this decision-making process Rachel’s approval and optimism in my future gave me a new sense of confidence. I realized that I was more than capable of putting myself out there to acquire information that would be beneficial to my future, that I didn’t have to sit in the back of the meeting and merely observe, and that I was only going to make the most of my future by going after it full force. I am grateful for all of the advice I received during this process, but mostly for Rachel’s early guidance: a perfect case for women empowering other women.
A few weeks ago I heard that a younger friend of mine was considering law school. I reached out to her immediately and offered to be a resource. Perhaps the best way to show my appreciation is by paying it forward—and provided the opportunity, I will do exactly that.
I am excited (and anxious) to begin the next phase of my life at USC Gould School of Law this fall. Without a doubt, I am well informed on what to expect for the next three years, and I am ready, because I learned to be bold. In a profession that is still largely dominated by men, I think that is one of the most important lessons I will take away as a woman—and from my experiences so far, we cannot do it alone.