HERstory provides advice to young female lawyers

Maria Lago/Staff Writer

Different lawyers came together for HERstory: A Celebration of Black Girl Magic, to discuss the intersectionality of being a woman of color in the legal profession and emphasize important topics for those who want to pursue law on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Held by the H.T. Smith Black Law Students Association at FIU, four practitioners of law were invited to answer questions from members of BLSA and the audience. Judge Denise Marks and attorneys Hilary Creary, Nikki Lewis and Renee Gordon were the special guests for this event, each one with an experience in law in different areas.

The guests were asked how their journey was as women of color in a predominantly white male field. Marks, one of the few women of color judges in immigration in Florida, said she had a hard time knowing who to trust and had to build her self-esteem to handle criticism.

“As a woman of color, I know I’m being watched as an example,” said Marks.

Creary, vice president of the Caribbean Bar Association and Jamaica-born, voiced that “people will underestimate you when they don’t understand you.”

Lewis, chief diversity officer at Greenberg Traurig LLP and Renee Gordon, 22-year member of the Florida Bar and trial attorney, said that networking and having relationships in the field is one the challenges they faced in the beginning of their careers as women of color.

All of the women emphasized how important it is to have mentors when in law school, as well as sponsors that will assign you cases and help develop your career. They also mentioned how stressful the profession can be and how it can take a toll on their partners and families.

“It takes the right partner who is supportive and that can handle the stressful times,” said Lewis, who is married and a mother of five children.

Gordon pointed out that those who want to pursue law have to be certain about the profession and be willing to take risks. “Know yourself and know what you want. It’s a calling, it has to be something internal,” she said.

HERstory is an event that happens every year, and FIU’s BLSA President Tremain Hemans believes that law students take a lot from these conversations. The admission into law schools, retention and more encouragement are some ways Hemans believes women of color can be better represented in law.

BLSA is also going to offer an event on March 29 called Pre-Law Symposium that will provide more information to students on how to apply for law school, the LSAT and other topics.

For more information about FIU’s BLSA, visit law.fiu.edu/students/organizations/h-t-smith-black-law-student-association-blsa/ or check their Instagram page @fiu_blsa.

Featured photo by Maria Lago.

1 Comment on "HERstory provides advice to young female lawyers"

  1. Tremaine L Hemans | April 20, 2019 at 10:47 PM | Reply

    Thank you for the feature! PantherNow is always welcome to all our events

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