Writing your firm bio

Posted in About Me, Job, Law Firm with tags , , , , on March 27, 2011 by Jessica

So this weekend I’ve been instructed to complete a task that requires finding that delicate balance between hubris and humility – writing my bio for the firm website. Thanks to the ladies at Corporette (scroll down to around comment 90 to see my question and the responses it received), I was able to get some advice.

Generally speaking, the theme of the advice offered was to check out what everyone else wrote.  Not including the bios of the higher-ups, most of the associate bios ranged from about 70 to 150 words. Some where very bare bones – where and when they went to school and when they were admitted to the bar. A few took a few more liberties discussing accolades, areas of concentration, or memberships.

Seeing the relative shortness of the firm bios written by other associates, I’ve found the greatest challenge to be keeping my bio brief. Rather than just stating an accomplishment or association, my instinct would be to describe it as well. But 70-150 words doesn’t give a whole lot of wiggle room for description. For the same reason, there’s also the issue of deciding which accolades and memberships to actually include. Thankfully the brevity of my bio should keep any over-the-top hubris to a minimum.

So this is what I submitted (redacted to protect the blogger’s and firm’s privacy):

Jessica C, Esq., is an associate at the Tampa office of [Law Firm]. Before joining the firm, Ms. Craven completed her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida in December 2006, graduating magna cum laude. Ms. Craven completed her Juris Doctor from [Law School] in May 2010 and was admitted to the Florida Bar in October 2010.

 While at [Law School], Ms. Craven received a Certificate of Concentration in Advocacy in addition to her JD. She was also active in the legal fraternity [Fraternity Name] and remains active as an Assistant District Justice.

Ms. Craven is a nearly life-long native Tampa Bay and currently resides in the area.

As a side note, Above the Law did a suprisingly informative and non-misogynistic piece on Law firm Bios back in October 2010 – What’s Wrong With Your Law Firm Bio?

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My first over-night business trip and stories from the middle of nowhere

Posted in Travel, Wear to Work with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Jessica

I’m on the road again…
So I find myself back on the road this week and back in the middle of nowhere. Actually, last time really wasn’t the middle of nowhere – where I went this afternoon truly was the middle of nowhere. Ever hear of Lake Butler? Neither had I, before I went there. It’s about an hour north of Gainesville and so out of the way that none of the several major interstates that run across the state passes within an hours driving distance of the town. I will say it was one of the loveliest and most pleasant drives I’ve taken in a very long time. But there were moments when I thought I had stepped onto the set of Deliverance: The Sequel. Which leads me to the most comical moment of the whole trip…
I really had to go to the bathroom. I was about half way between Gainesville and Lake Butler. There’s not a whole lot along that part of the drive except for a few towns so small that if you blink you would miss them. When I finally come upon what appears to be civilization a gas station, I pulled in to use the ladies’ room. And it was like a scene straight of a cheesy country music video or an old western. A few older guys in cowboy hats and Levis hanging around outside chewing tobacco and shooting the breeze. Then when I roll in everything stops. The old guys’ conversation stops to first stare at/ogle the fancy-looking car (a rented Dodge Avenger) and then to stare at/ogle the young lady in the suit stepping out of said fancy car. For the record, I did not request that car (but it was awesome). But… wow. I had not been looked at like that in quite a while. I was still getting looks when after I finished my business and got back in the car. And it didn’t get much better once I finally got to the courthouse in “downtown” Lake Butler. As I walked out of the courthouse, the entire lawn maintenance crew stopped to stare. I’m starting to think lady-lawyers don’t exist in this part of the state. As much of a die-hard Gator fan that I am, I was actually quite happy once I made it my hotel in Tallahassee. Sigh.

Anyway, as this post is about travel, it seems appropriate to give you all a couple of my packing tips:
(1) Travel size products are your friends. Call me weird, but I prefer to actually find my of choice in a travel size rather than buy the travel-sized bottles and transfer my product into them. But it works either way. Really the key is pairing down the size of all your necessary products. You’d be surprised how much room you can save in your suitcase by carrying travel-sized shampoo and conditioner rather than packing the full-sized product.
(2) Where possible, make your clothes do double-duty. I went to my Tuesday afternoon mediation in a red three-quarter length tee and suit. When I got to the hotel that evening, I took off the suit, left the tee, and put on a pair of jeans. Voila, I was ready to go get dinner.
(3) Stick to a common color scheme. By that I mean brown vs. black and silver vs. gold. This cuts down the number of accessories you have to pack and helps make sure most everything you pack matches with everything else.
(4) Style is important, but this is not a time to sacrifice comfort. I tend to prefer skirts over pants – pencil skirts tend to fit me better than dress slacks and I just like the way I look in them better. But I find for traveling (running around and sitting for long periods of time in a car) pants are much more comfortable.

If you’re wondering what I actually packed, I kept it pretty simple as (1) this was a fairly short trip and (2) I didn’t really want to have to think too much about what to wear. I wore a black pinstriped skirt suit with the above mentioned red three-quarter sleeved shirt underneath it. I packed the pants that match the skirt and a red short-sleeve button-front shirt for the next day. I wore the same black pumps both days. I threw in a pair of jeans and sandals to wear after I made it Tallahassee and to change into for my drive back to Tampa. And I wore the same jewelry both days. Simple and not terribly exciting, but perfect when wanting to travel light for a short trip.

Aaaaand now it’s late. And all this traveling is got me right tuckered out. Nighty night ya’ll!

Just a little preppiness…

Posted in Business Casual, Uncategorized, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on March 21, 2011 by Jessica

I could give you the same excuse about being dead-tired and completely bogged-down at work (which are all true), but it would be the same old excuses for being a recalcitrant blogger. So to my meager audience out there – my apologies. I’m trying to set up a schedule for blogging and getting better at this anyway.

Anyway, on to the fashion! As a general rule, I’ve never considered myself preppy. Frankly, there’s part of me that still cringes at that world. I’m a girl who used to wear band t-shirts, Chuck Taylors, clothes from Gadzooks, always jeans, and nary a skirt or dress in sight. But as I’ve gotten older my style has turned more towards the “classic”, though there are occasional moments which reflect more former punk rock college student propensities. And just the tiniest little bit of prep seems to have worked its way in… 

Behold – the sweater vest. Only one of the preppiest items an individual can wear. At least it’s not argyle. It’s actually quite cute – there’s a row of buttons down the front (like a cardigan) and small lacy ruffles down either side of the placket. I’ve tried this vest with t-shirts underneath it (a look of frequently done using structured suiting vests), but for some reason it just doesn’t quite work. So I stick with button front shirts – this one is a lovely jewel-tone blue made from a fabric with both sheen and stretch.

I quite like this look. The touch of preppiness is just that – just a touch. And a touch of something different from our norm adds variety and interest to our wardrobe. I rocked my sweater vest today. I can let my punk rocker girl shine through the other 6 days of the week.

Musings from the road…

Posted in Travel with tags , , on March 11, 2011 by Jessica

As you may have guessed from both today’s entry title and from the picture, I’m on the road today. For those of you who are familiar with Ocala, well, you know where I’m spending my day. For those of you who can’t find Ocala on a map, we’ll just say you’re really not missing much.

I currently find myself seated in a Panera at the tail end of the lunch rush. My next mediation starts in about an hour. I’m tapping away on my laptop trying to get a little work done – update our case management system as to my earlier mediation, email the appropriate department as to the necessary next steps, and fire off a few miscellaneous emails (one of which at least is likely to make a certain client none too happy), and so on.

So a few things I’ve learned from my first business trip:
(1) Getting a rental car always reminds me how much I need a new car. Seriously. Mine is becoming a piece of crap that I wouldn’t trust to take me on this 4-ish hours round trip without completely failing me.
(2) It’s always a good thing to try to save the client a few bucks, but there’s no need to be overly stingy with yourself. Technically, driving my car (and crossing my fingers) might have been a tad bit cheaper for the client. But, in my opinion, the few extra dollars are worth my relative comfort and safety when the client wants me to trot off to a place 100+ miles away from home on their behalf.
(3) Try to still eat well. This also kind of ties into the above point. I could have gone to’ and eaten greasy (yet delicious) crap. Instead I went a little pricier, fancier, and healthier and went with Panera. Also, finding a place with wi-fi allowed me to get some work done (and play around on my blog, as well 🙂 ).
(4) Always, always, leave early. I don’t have the greatest sense of direction. I’m fine when I’m at home or in cities I know well, but get me out of my comfort zone and it’s a guarantee that I’ll get lost at least once. Which I did today, of course, on the way to my first mediation. Thank goodness I left about 30 minutes early.

Anyway, time to clean up and prepare for my next mediation. Then hopefully back home sweet home before dark. Have a wonderful Friday, all!!

Comfort and finding common trends in your wardrobe

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work on March 9, 2011 by Jessica

When I’m most tired and completely lacking in energy in the morning to plan out a spectacularly fabulous outfit in the morning, I find myself reaching for my stand-bys and oft-worn favorites. Partially out of comfort – because if I wear it frequently, I probably find it comfortable. And partially out of ease – because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! This week I’ve been dragging a bit, so I pulled out some of favorite go-to’s. This includes not just specific items, but also fits/shapes/silhouettes and color combinations. Check out this outfit I wore Monday:

Cream sweater and brown slacks. Hmmm, I think this might be slightly similar to what I wore on February 23, 2011. I’m not sure that the slacks were also brown on that day, but you get the idea. I love the color cream for my skin tone and wear it often. It’s a soft color and not as harsh as white-white. And it just feels like such a cozy color to me – like the color of your favorite old sweater you throw on on Sunday morning.

Also check out this detail shot of outfit I wore on Tuesday:

Twist-trim long-sleeve shirt and lace camisole… hmmm, does that look familiar? If you’ve seen my post from February 17, 2011, it should. Yes, I own multiples of that shirt. I bought one and loved it, and when I saw more of them on sale a few weeks later I picked up a few more colors. And as for that lace camisole – yes, it does make many, many appearances in my wardrobe.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that not every outfit has to be new and interesting. In fact, I would argue that knowing what works for your body, your life, and your personality is very much an asset. It’s a matter of striking that balance between wearing what works for you and makes you feel comfortable in your own skin and putting together something innovative every single day.

Comfy business casual and first office happy hour

Posted in After Work, Business Casual with tags , , , on March 3, 2011 by Jessica

Happy Thursday (i.e. Happy almost-Friday)!

So this week has been a little crazy. I’m sure you’ve guess by my less than regular blogging this week. Work has really picked up for me this week and I’ve also had a few personal engagements after work this week. So I’ve been getting home late the past night or two. In other words – I. Am. BEAT.

Today’s outfit was picked with two particular facts in mind: (1) When I woke up this morning I was beyond tired (2) I was going to my first office happy hour. Based on both of those facts, the natural outfit was a dress and cardigan. Apologies for the lack of model (i.e. me) in the pictures – I got into PJs as soon as I got home and didn’t get a picture while I was still in the outfit.

To me, one of hte only things comfier (sp?) than an old t-shirt and jeans is a dress and cardigan. This dress looks gray from afar, but up close has a houndstooth-esque pattern to it. It’s one of my favorite work dresses (and is actually the first I ever got!). The cardigan is fun and has a cute little detail along the edges.

The detail along the edging of the dress adds a little extra interest to an otherwise very simple outfit. And the earrings… well they’re just fun! As I said before, I went with the dress/sweater combo for today because it’s comfy (and I was dead tired), but also because I thought by removing the cardigan would transition the outfit really well into happy hour. As it turned out though, I left the cardigan on as it was a little cool this evening.

Nighty night everyone and sweet dreams!

What to wear to a weekend mock trial competition, i.e. Trying not to look like an intimidating attorney Part 2

Posted in Weekend Wear with tags , , , , on February 27, 2011 by Jessica

So a few weeks ago my dear friend – j – over at Look! I Look Cute Today! totally exploited my love of trial advocacy and mock trial competitions when she convinced me to judge a weekend high school mock trial competition. I had a fantastic time! The competitors did an all around great job for only having a high schooler’s level of understanding of trial procedure and evidentiary rules (hearsay and legal relevancy were particularly difficult issues). The only down-side to the competition – I had to be at the courthouse at 8am on a Saturday. So much for sleeping in (though I did get to take a lovely long late-afternoon nap on the sofa afterwords).

So when I was figuring out what to wear for the competition, I found myself in a rather similar position as I did when I went to my first mediation (discussed in Trying NOT to look like an intimidating attorney). Add in the fact that I had no idea what the other attorneys would be wearing (ranged from full suits to jeans), I didn’t want to be overly business-y.

The first outfit I thought of wearing was very different. It was a pair of black slacks, gray shawl collar sweater, and a burgundy camisole underneath. But it was a rather dark outfit and I wasn’t really in dark-clothes-mood. And it would appear that spring has arrived to the Florida gulf coast. As the day was absolutely gorgeous outside, I felt the need to bring a little bit of the spring in-doors. Hence the gorgeous teal color and floral applique on the right shoulder.

Though I am wondering a little bit in whether I succeeded at looking appropriately attorney-ish enough. Why you might ask? Well, because when I walked up to a group of attorneys which included a few of the attorneys running the competition and asked where we should go, I was asked which team I was with. As in which HIGH SCHOOL team was I a part of. Sigh.