is the prac-
for the WSBA
Management Assistance Program.
She attended U W as an undergrad
and Seattle University for her law
degree. She can be reached at
I have recently transitioned from
male to female and feel I am finally
living as my true self. After years of
struggling to accept who I really am
inside, now I’m now struggling with
what feels like sexism — not being
listened to or taken seriously professionally because I am a woman. Do
you have any resources to help me in
dealing with sexism in the workplace?
I wish that I could say that I was surprised, that we don’t live in a society
with disparate, biased treatment any
longer. But I am not and we do. Joan
C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey lay
out four basic patterns of bias towards
women in the workplace in What Works
for Women at Work .
• Prove It Again! (and again and
• The Tightrope (can’t teeter towards
too-masculine or too-feminine
• The Maternal Wall (assumption
that kids matter more than work to
women, or that something is wrong
with her if they do not)
• The Tug of War (women judge each
other harshly and compete to get by)
Not all women report all types of
bias, but out of the 125 they interviewed
for the book, only four reported encoun-
tering none of these. I also recognize
that you may be experiencing addi-
tional bias from folks if they know that
you are a transwoman, i.e., transphobia.
Author and transwoman Julia Serano
talks about the specific experiences of
sexism and transphobia in Whipping
Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism
and the Scapegoating of Femininity.
On solutions for dealing with sexism
in the workplace, there is controversy.
Some say women need to ask for what
they need better and “lean in,” while
others view that as buying into the boys’
club. Some say the answer is changing
society, or at least office culture, to be
more accepting of the strengths women
bring. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a
discussion of this issue.
Women work in a political minefield.
Take a look at these books and find
ways to surround yourself with like-minded, supportive, empathic people,
because even though it looked like the
final destination a while ago, I suspect
you have just started on your next life
I’ve been a stay-at-home father
for the last 10 years. In re-entering
law, it appears marketing has changed
dramatically. Can you give me a clue
where to start when marketing my
new solo practice?
The marketing you do when you re-enter a market is the same as you would
if you had been working all along, with
a couple exceptions. First, the vehicles
for marketing have multiplied, so
while you will still network in person,
you need to have an online strategy
as well. Check out Personal Branding in One Hour for Lawyers from the
WSBA LOMAP Lending Library or
buy it from the ABA. Another difference is messaging your return to the
law authentically and positively. This
comes from exploring who you are,
how you help people, and why. Check
out the Primer Application by Google,
which breaks down marketing into
digestible lessons on content, PR and
media, and search advertising. Some
people struggle with the “selling” part.
If it feels sleazy to you, look at The Reluctant Rainmaker and Selling Within
Your Comfort Zone (also in the LOMAP
library) to get to an authentic message
about why you are doing this, who you
help, and how you help them.
When I graduated and passed the
bar exam last summer, I didn’t have a
plan. There are no job prospects. Now,
deferments are used up, forbearances
look sparse, and I am at my wits’ end.
How do I find a job?
You’ll find the right position through
great diligence and perseverance. Looking for work is inherently demoralizing.
Add a tepid economic recovery and a
changed associate track, and you have a
tough row to hoe. But successful job hunters fortify themselves against the gloom
and persevere by reaching out to more
than the traditional sources. They network their tails off by making a schedule
and meeting people for coffee or lunch
often. They create a really awesome résumé and cover letter that speaks to their
character and passion. They ask for help.
They join the Weekly Job Group at the
WSBA and use it to make an action plan
and move forward in the hunt. And they
may get gap filler jobs or open their own
practices. Some even discover they have
an entrepreneurial spirit and thrive in
their own practice. If you have been doing all this, then take heart that you are
doing the right things and that a better
result is in the works. If not, start today.
Strive to keep optimism in your pocket,
because gloom is your greatest enemy.
Please email me if you need some résumé
review, advice, or a pep talk. NWL