Leading Ladies: Judge Maria A. Salas-Mendoza

What an honor and a privilege to hear from leaders in our profession on the topic of Diversity.  This week, TYLA Director Raymond Baeza interviewed the Honorable Maria A. Salas-Mendoza, Judge for the 120th Judicial District Court of Texas. Thank you Judge Salas-Mendoza for contributing this week. * Why is diversity important in the legal profession? Diversity is very important in the legal profession because there is greater lack of information about the legal system, lack of trust in lawyers and the system and lack of time and resources among diverse populations, including racial and ethnic minorities and poor people.  Our system is even more intimidating when these individuals cannot find anyone within the system that even looks like them or is empathetic to their unique circumstances. There are many barriers to access and not having diversity in prospective lawyers and the bench only heightens distrust among people who most…

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Keeping Stress in Check with Hobbies and Extracurricular Activities

It is easy to allow work to stress you out. Stress often manifests itself when burning the midnight oil; keeping clients and colleagues happy; and tackling other projects. As enjoyable as work may be, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the office and spend time with family and friends. With that said, I know I stress even more when sitting around the house. To deal with that stress and hopefully prevent it before it arises, I try to find activities that keep me busy outside of work.   When it comes to such extracurriculars, I find that I enjoy maintaining a diversity in activities. For instance, I really enjoy exercise. Check out my earlier Lawyers Who Lunch article, “Finding Time for Fitness,” from August 19, 2015. Fitness is critical to a healthy lifestyle and alleviating stress. Over the years, my fitness activities have changed. When I was in high…

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…holiday party season

Texas is home to some fabulous holiday parties. Here are a few tips and pointers before attending your next holiday party: Stay classy, my friend – Stay consistent with the recommended attire, but don’t be afraid to dress it up a little. It’s better to overdress than underdress. This is another opportunity to make a good impression and show sound judgment. Smooth operator – Prior to the event, refresh yourself on co-workers’ significant others’ and children’s names. You may not have seen many of these people since summer clerk events, and it will make conversations much less awkward if you remember their names. Plus, it’s an easy conversation starter for people to talk about who they love. Don’t forget to choose your date wisely; they are a reflection of you. Can you hear me now? - Put your phone away. Be present and engaging. You’re killing me, Smalls - Catch…

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How Nonverbal Communication Can Make or Break Your Next Interview

Our job as lawyers is all about communication -  verbal and nonverbal.  The following article was written from the perspective of interviewing for a job, but the tips could easily be translated to your practice. http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2015/11/12/six-nonverbal-communication-mistakes-that-could-tank-your-next-job-interview/

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Learning to Say No

Young lawyers are constantly bombarded by partners, other young lawyers, friends, relatives, and members of their communities (business and charitable) to give more and more of their time to various projects, organizations, and work.   However, young attorneys easily over commit by simply saying “yes” to every activity that comes through the door. Being new to the profession, we want to impress others and show people what we are made of.   This article  sums up two major points of why saying “no” is important in your work life—why say “no” in the first place and why “no” isn’t a bad word.   “Because people are expected to be agreeable, you might think that saying ‘no’ means you’re being disagreeable. That’s not really the case: you’re just saying you can’t do what is being asked of you.” – Mark Wilson, Esq.  

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Babies, Bio-Clocks, and the Billable Hour.

Talk about a phrase that can send this young lawyer into a bit of a panic.  I mean, is there a series of words that is more panic inducing than those for young female lawyers??   Sure, I don’t have kids yet.  But that’s exactly what all the panic is all about. My mommy lawyer friends are well-settled into a life where kids and family are obviously the most important thing, even when work remains an important priority. Life has got to be hard, balancing all of those actual real-life demands. No question.  But what if all those things are still hypothetical…you are just starting a family, or want to, and you’ve got two clocks ticking loudly in the background—the one that says your running out of time!! And the one that says you better bill some time or watch your professional trajectory stall out just when it’s getting good!…

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Suicide Prevention Month

           September is national suicide prevention month.  Although suicide is a difficult topic to discuss, it is one that greatly affects the legal profession.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst lawyers and of any profession, lawyers have the highest rate of depression and have the highest rate of suicide.  It is important as a legal profession that we acknowledge these statistics and recognize the difficulties that some of our colleagues may be struggling with. Having suffered from depression for many years I understand the difficulty that a lawyer faces in trying to balance ones legal career and their mental health.  Although lawyers are very good at advocating for their clients, they are often not very good at advocating for themselves.  Asking for help for yourself is one of the hardest things to do.  However, it is also imperative to do when you are…

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Back to School!

"I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, if only I knew your name and address..." (name that movie!) Suddenly, it's fall.  Even though it is still hot in Texas, the months of August and September trigger the return of the school year.  Everywhere you look on the internet, there are articles about getting ready for "back to school."   A quick google search brought up these: Back to School Survival for Working Parents Back to School Survival from Drugfree.org Back to School Survival from Scholastic With back to school comes the inevitable adjusting to a new, more rigid schedule.  TYLA wants to know, what is more preferable to you? Take our poll and let us know:

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Finding Time for Fitness

As attorneys, we are busy: busy working; busy spending time with our families; busy serving others; and busy making friends. Unfortunately for us, we often overlook caring for ourselves. When we forget, a host of problems arise: depression, undesired weight gain, and loss of energy to name a few. As for undesired weight gain, it’s understandable that when expected to put everyone else first, we as attorneys might forget to feed ourselves nutritious meals or take time to workout. If that weren’t enough, we spend the majority of our time sitting at desks, where the only thing we exercise is bad posture. I propose we take time for ourselves, time to exercise. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases Exercise improves mood Exercise boosts energy Exercise promotes better sleep Exercise improves your sex life Exercise is fun Exercise boosts brainpower Exercise helps build relationships Exercise lets you eat more You probably…

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