In this episode I talked to Sharon Chandra about family law, how productive a happy lawyer can be, flexible working conditions, gender and age bias, the basis on which you might choose jobs early in your career, and her hope that more law firms will shift from a top down management approach to a conversational approach (a hope I enthusiastically second).
I am so excited to be able to announce that I am writing an advice column ("Dear Katie") for LexisNexis on their platform for law students and graduates, Learn Law Life. This is a platform covering topics like study and careers and wellbeing and life as a law student and new lawyer, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. I have already written four of the columns and they have been super fun. I am so glad to be able to write for places that let me be human and use phrases like "dumb dumbs" if I want. You can read my first column here.
In this episode I talked to Duncan Webb, MP for Christchurch Central and co-author of your ethics textbook, about his career as a litigation lawyer, academic and now Parliamentarian. We talked about how you can make a difference in non-traditional routes, what he wish he'd known from the beginning (nothing more than he did), his work for Christchurch homeowners in earthquake cases, how he once took down a gaming trust, and much more.
This month's column deals with a topic I hate: networking. I get asked how to network if you hate networking quite a lot, and this really is my best answer. Networking is horrible because it takes the humanity out of social interactions and replaces it with salesmanship. Nobody likes a salesman (our brains go on high alert when we think we're being sold) and most people don't like selling. But, dear readers, there are other ways to peel an orange, and this is mine. This is a method that can still technically be called networking but is really just hanging out with cool people and learning fun things. Granted, it starts out a bit scary, but boy does it deliver.
You can now read this month's column here, in which I talk about how living from a place of giving, when coupled with beautifully strong and reinforced boundaries, can be the most promising and enjoyable way to be, not to mention the most likely to be successful.
This episode was so full of joy, and has filled my mind with all kinds of sparks and excitement since we recorded it a few weeks ago. Lisa is the Director of Defence Legal Services and Military Prosecutions and boy does she have an interesting career to talk about. We talked how law is used in the army, military codes, international law, Lisa's experience as a woman of colour in the army, and how studying things you love can bring unexpected joy later down the line. It was wonderful, and I am so grateful to Lisa for sharing her insights into this very different way of using one's law degree.
This month I tried to whittle the giant topic of what brains do and why we should all understand them better into a thousand words, and it was very hard. There is so much more to say, but you can read what I did manage to fit in here.
In this episode I met with Zylpha, a second career lawyer now working for the Canterbury-Westland branch of NZLS and, among other things, manning the Law Care phone line (0800 0800 28, more information below). Before studying law she worked in banking, and we had fun saying "hmmm" and stroking our chins about highly hierarchical, power-based employment cultures. We also talked about the big picture problem of harassment and bullying and the complex way those issues can and should be (and are being!) examined, including NZLS work to assist those suffering from it right now.
Phew. Well. The topic of this column is the culture I observed in the legal profession and how the worst wrongs sit atop giant below-surface ice bergs of smaller wrongs gone un-examined. It's a topic that has been burning a hole in me for quite some time but one I haven't felt able to discuss. Which is kind of the point. (You can read it here.)
This column is about keeping your lawyer skills within the lawyer domain as much as possible, and not letting them leech into other areas where they may not be as useful. Of course, when I wrote this column back in January (a simpler time when Me Too and Times Up were but months and weeks old), the New Zealand legal profession was not grappling quite so directly with the issue of lawyer creeps, so the title is now a little unfortunate.