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Getting to law school is tough, but that’s only half the battle or maybe even a third of the battle when considering life after law school. Here to talk with us today is B. Harden to discuss how she can assist with life after law school.
Jen: Tell us a little about yourself?
B. Harden: Like many of us, I am the first in my family for several things. I was the first to attend both graduate school and law school. Thus, I am a First-Generation Law School Attendee. Although I did not have a mentor during my law school application process, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into, and attend, Northwestern University School of Law, where I obtained an academic scholarship.
Following my graduation, with honors, from Northwestern University School of Law, I first clerked at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Subsequently, I clerked for a federal district court judge sitting on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. And following that federal district court clerkship, I was selected to join the Attorney General’s Honors Program (“DOJ Honors”) in the Immigration Unit.
Later, I served as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge sitting on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Subsequent to my federal circuit court clerkship, I was a Senior Associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., where I specialized in white-collar criminal investigations and securities litigation. While I enjoyed private practice and all the resources it afforded me, I ultimately transitioned from private practice to public service.
Jen: Tell us about the Crimson Law Coach.
B. Harden: My business is called the Crimson Law Coach because I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc., and I am a law school coach. Thus, I coach you from matriculation through graduation, and beyond. I have been helping First-Generation Legal Eagles obtain their DREAM attorney job(s) for many years, and I decided to formally launch a program to continue those efforts.
Jen: How long have you been doing this work?
B. Harden: I have been coaching First-Generation Legal Eagles for approximately ten years. It started when I realized that my law school career advisors were well-intentioned, but they had to service over 600 students. The sheer numbers told me that they could not give me individualized attention. Therefore, I knew that I had to take on the onus of directing my professional path.
Such is the case with many First-Generation Legal Eagles. So, I started strategizing about job applications, interview skills, resume/cover letter master plans, networking tools, and grade hacks when I was in law school, and I never stopped.
Jen: Who would benefit from your services?
B. Harden: My vantage point is that of a First-Generation Legal Eagle. I am intimately familiar with the challenges that First Generation folks confront on the legal landscape. So, I have helped many First-Generation Legal Eagles who are current law school students, newbie lawyers, or lawyers seeking to transition. However, I have also assisted minority law school students/lawyers who are not First-Generation folks, as well.
Jen: What sets your program apart from other similar programs? Are there other similar programs?
B. Harden: While I am sure there are other programs to help young (future) lawyers find jobs, I do not know of any that primarily focus on First-Generation folks or minorities. Furthermore, #LifeAfterLawSchool is not a headhunting service; it is a professional development program. Through my mentorship and guidance, this program is designed to help First-Generation Legal Eagles perfect, polish, and present their best professional selves to help them obtain their dream attorney job(s).
Jen: What kind of success can participants expect?
B. Harden: #LifeAfterLawSchool participants will learn to: 1) exhibit their legal and professional prowess; 2) discern (and be competitive for) their DREAM attorney job(s); and 3) build a bankable brand as a young lawyer. I have helped First-Generation folks: 1) get a “Big Law” associateship, starting at $190k/year with a signing bonus; 2) secure federal district court and federal circuit court clerkships; 3) successfully transition from a clerkship to private practice; and 4) obtain a supervisory role as an EEOC attorney, just to name a few.
Jen: If you did not go to a highly ranked law school or have the best grades in law school, can you still benefit from this program?
B. Harden: ABSOLUTELY. As First-Generation Legal Eagles, we often operate from a place of “Not.” We think that we are NOT qualified. We are NOT equipped. We are NOT ready. But, #LifeAfterLawSchool helps you to : 1) reposition your pedigree/grades to highlight your professional assets; 2) glean from your best skills to apply in any legal environment; and 3) shore up your professional confidence to showcase your best self.
Jen: How important is mentorship?
B. Harden: Mentorship is THE gamechanger in the legal world. Having a seasoned attorney in your corner who has done what you want to do and has been where you are trying to go will shortcut your learning curve and allow you to obtain your dreams quicker with fewer mistakes along the way. Legal mentors will save you from a lot of “bought lessons,” as my grandmother would say. The legal environment (Big Law, clerkships, government, in-house, academia, non-profit, etc.) is NOT the place for you to try to “figure it out.” Many times, the operating expectation is that you already know, and you must not disappoint.
Jen: What advice do you have for those students currently in law school regarding life after law school?
B. Harden: First, be focused and be intentional. It can be very easy to become distracted while in law school. There are organizations, events, parties, etc. and while you should live a balanced life, you should be intentional with your time and efforts because you can never get those two things back. Second, be mindful of your reputation. You only get one. And, your professional legal reputation begins the day you start law school.
Jen: Is there anything that those who are interested in law school, need to consider to best prepare for life after law school? (school ranking, etc…)
B. Harden: #GradesMatter. Before you even get to law school rankings, know that your college grades matter. They can help or hinder your application. And while other components of your application are also very important (LSAT, personal/diversity statements, addenda, recommendation letters, etc.), your collegiate grades show your progress over time, as opposed to one snapshot in time, like the LSAT.
Jen: How can those interested in the program sign up? (include social media handles)
B. Harden: Email me at the email address below or visit my website, listed below.
FB: “Crimson Law Coach,”
We have a June cohort starting the week of June 18, 2018, and there will be another cohort later in the summer of 2018.
Anyone who mentions this blog post, or mentions “JentheJD” will receive a discount off the program price.
Jen: Any last remarks?
B. Harden: Often we do not know what we want, until we know what we can have. Unfortunately, as First-Generation Legal Eagles we frequently miss out because we do not know that the opportunities exist, so we cannot even pursue them. My law school coaching program, #LifeAfterLawSchool, seeks to close that educational and professional gap.