On her first day as a summer associate, Traci Martinez went to lunch with a group of partners and other law students spending their summer at that firm. During lunch, talk turned to experiences traveling in Europe and studying abroad.
It was a pretty standard get-acquainted conversation. But for Martinez, who had grown up in humbler circumstances and never been out of the U.S., it was crushing.
“I just remember feeling that I was so quiet that I was making a bad impression,” says Martinez, who is now a partner at Squire Patton Boggs. “While I never spoke it aloud, I remember feeling, is this the right decision? Am I making a big mistake here?”
On this Legal Speak podcast, we look at the experience of first generation lawyers like Martinez. The term typically refers to attorneys who are the first in their families to hold professional jobs and often the first generation to attend college. Things that a lot of new lawyers might take for granted can present major challenges.
Martinez, who advocates for first generation lawyers, describes her path into Big Law and how law firms can support new attorneys who haven’t had access to the same financial or family resources as their peers.
We also hear from Ciarra Carr, a first-year associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Carr, who was the first in her family to attend law school, explains how she’s managed to thrive as a new lawyer amid some unique challenges.
Legal Speak is brought to you by Econ One, offering economic expertise, consulting and dispute resolution, and data analytics.