A City Attorney on Life and Lawyering

Before I expound on a few words of wisdom about work, kids, marriage, life in general, let me provide a short introduction. A little context will hopefully help you understand where the thoughts expressed below are coming from. I am a lawyer - no surprise there. I have been a licensed attorney for almost eight years. I started my career at a small plaintiffs firm in Houston, but for the past four years, I have been working in municipal law. I am currently the City Attorney for the City of Temple and have been in this position for a little over a year. If you have ever driven on Interstate 35 from Dallas to Austin or vice versa, you have driven through Temple. It is home to Baylor Scott & White Hospital, McLane Company, and one of the newest Buc-ee's in Texas. It is a rapidly growing city with a…

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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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Can women really do it all? Absolutely.

Little mid-week inspiration here—Judge Lindsey Scott is not only the first female district judge in Jefferson County, she is also just 34 years old, a former assistant district attorney, a wife, and mother of 2. Judge Scott was appointed by Governor Perry to replace Judge Layne Walker who retired a full 11 months before the end of his term. During her short term, Judge Scott helped cut the County’s backlog of cases from 500 to 250 cases all while giving birth to a newborn mid-term and continuing to chase around a 3 year old.

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Leading Ladies: Elizabeth Campbell

I attended a women’s event recently—just another luncheon for a good cause, but I made an incredible observation. The women who were most engaged in talking about their various charities and all of the non-profit work they managed to fit into their very busy professional lives, were women of the Baby Boomer generation. Either they had no children to begin with, or their children were away at college or had moved on to their own adult lives. Conversely, one young mother of two—or was it one mother of two young children?—noted that she simply did not have time to volunteer for non-profits; she would rather spend her precious “free” time with her children. To be sure, the “Gen X” or “Gen Y” discussion was quite different from that of my Baby Boomer peers.

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