By Kat Namon ’22, Erin DeMarco ’23, Lauren McRae ’22, & Panop (Nop) Phongpetra ’23
Women in Law: A Conversation with Trinity Alumni was a panel with the Program’s own Kat Namon ’22, and Erin DeMarco ’23 and Political Science major Lauren McRae ’22 on behalf of the Trinity College Pre-Law Society. Held on April 19, 2022 on Zoom, the conversation included a discussion of the panelists’ law school experiences and careers as practicing female attorneys. The panel included three Public Policy & Law alumni: Youlan Xiu ’15, Law Clerk at Latham & Watkins in New York; Christina Claxton ’16, Associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Dallas, Texas; and Antonia Lluberes ’16, Law Clerk at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Xiu, Claxton, and Lluberes were also joined by: Michaela Powers ’16, Associate at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, Massachusetts; Lesley Johannsen ’05, Senior Court Attorney at Kings County Family Court in Brooklyn, New York; and Amy Horowitz, former Visiting Assistant Professor for the Public Policy & Law department and Attorney at the Law Offices of Amy J. Horowitz in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The full recording of the event is available to the public here. Below is a brief interview with the panel’s hosts!
- What was the main purpose of the panel?
- The main purpose of the panel was to provide students across all majors with a sense of what it is like to work in the legal profession as a woman, as law has historically been a male-dominated field. We wanted viewers to see that there are successful, exemplary women who came from Trinity and are successfully pursuing this line of work. Following the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, it felt rather timely to hold this panel, as representation in the United States is headed in a positive direction. As students are embarking on their own academic journeys and considering different potential career paths, we wanted to ensure they knew that women have a place in all areas of the law, and our Bantam network was the perfect place to look for examples to follow. We focused on questions that ranged from panelists’ experiences in law school, the gap years they took before attending, their experiences in the workplace, and asked them for broader advice as well. ~ Kat Namon ’22
- What was most memorable for you from your conversation?
- One of the most memorable parts of the panel for me was a response by Youlan Xiu to a question posed by one of our participants. The question revolved around what advice the panelists would give to first-generation students and students of color who want to make it as a lawyer. Youlan’s answered involved 3 principles: preparation, determination and confidence. To make it in the legal industry, one has to do the work. Though it will be difficult, though it will be exhausting, though it will be tedious and sometime boring, by ensuring that you are prepared come time for your career to begin, students of color and first-generation students can stand confidently amongst their peers regardless of their background. Youlan compared one’s career in this industry to a race. She maintained that if one has done the work to prepare themselves, then by the time the gun goes off and it is time to start running, you will have just as much of a chance as anyone else to succeed. It is up to you to stay confident in your preparation and not let doubt hold you back. This was likely one of the most memorable exchanges that I have had with a member of this profession and her advice will stay with me as I move forward with my life after Trinity. She may not know it now, but I can say with strong conviction that Youlan Xiu has changed the way I view the legal profession and my outlook on life. I am incredibly grateful to her for that. ~ Lauren McRae ’22
- What is something you hope listeners can take away?
- I hope listeners realize that the law profession is not solely reserved for men and that there is a place for women in any type of law. When designing the questions, we tried to think of questions that would specifically highlight the female experiences in law school and in the workplace. I hope that this event not only was informative and eye-opening, but that it was also inspiring and motivating. I wish that anyone who watches this discussion becomes inspired to create and follow their own desired paths and to not feel pressured to do (or not do) something. There is no wrong decision, and the path one takes after Trinity is certainly not linear. However, we all have the ability to have faith in ourselves. All of the panelists had different journeys after graduating from Trinity and experienced a variety of struggles and achievements, but the common denominator amongst them all is that they followed their dreams and have established themselves as highly reputable attorneys. My ultimate desire is that anyone who watches this discussion sees themselves in one of the panelists and becomes encouraged to also follow their dreams. ~ Erin DeMarco ’23