The power of social media has brought us this weeks Werk Crush Wednesday, Rukayatu Tijani- I found her online and became an instant fan – her food posts alone deserve honourable mention! She is an associate at Quinn Emanuel Urqhuart and Sullivan’s – the worlds largest law firm that is devoted solely to business litigation and arbitration. She works from the Silicon Valley office and she is barred to practice in both the State of New York and California. In all these winning ways, Ruky has made championing diversity and giving back part of her mission. I am happy she agreed to share her story with us!
I am currently a Fourth Year Associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan.I attended the University at Albany for College and UC Berkeley School of Law for Law School. I am also barred to Practice in both California and New York.
Your practice areas:
Right now, I am a general practitioner but I’m working on cases in patent law, trademark and copyright, and employee negligence.
The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer:
Many people are excited and surprised because I look so young! A lot of young people are impressed and immediately want to connect with me about my journey.
A major move in the last 5 years:
I became a senior clerk in my Judge’s chambers during my clerkship. This means I had the amazing opportunity to train junior clerks, coordinate the calendar of my judge, and dole out the assignments for junior clerks. I also spearheaded and coordinated a program called the “Extern Speakers Series,” a diversity summer program where practitioners and officers of the legal community speak with legal externs about their experiences. During the discussions, externs received practical guidance for becoming a “big shot” in the legal field. Externs were introduced to a Ninth Circuit Judge, several District Court Judges, Assistant United State Attorneys, Federal Defenders, and a myriad of other practitioners.
Lastly, I’m helping my mother find a residential program for my brother, who has Downs Syndrome and autism. That is one of my greatest accomplishments thus far.
Why you chose to study law:
I chose to study law because it grants a real opportunity to make change in communities I most identify with. It’s an amazing catalyst for change.
Something you wish you could change about legal practice:
The opportunities for every day citizens to serve on the jury pool. Juries have the unique ability to determine the outcome in many of the cases in our legal system. Making sure that juries truly represent a cross section in the community is something I aim to work towards as I continue in my career.
What apps do you use to increase productivity OR apps you have to turn off to increase productivity: :
Google calendar; equinox gym sign up, google sheets (I use this app to track my budget and schedule for the week).
How do you network:
Social media and networking events. Putting pictures of my everyday life on social media to bring diversity to the discussion of what lawyers look like.
Whats your “Go-To” beauty staple and closet item:
Black radiance foundation and Iman lip gloss.
Describe your Werk style:
Casual with a lot of bright colors and pastels.
When stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to refocus:
I pray and seek out help from friends and family. I also go to therapy and church regularly.
A time you made a mistake at work and how you bounced back:
I missed a huge deadline during my clerkship, but I asked for an extension, worked around the clock to finish the assignment, asked co-workers for their help and input, and finished the assignment successfully.
A physical or spiritual practice you have adopted:
Prayer, reading my bible, church, listening to sermons and motivational podcasts.
If not law, what would you be doing:
Public policy work and likely theatre (Hamilton is calling my name… haha).
Bad recommendations or assumptions about law that you often hear?
I can’t recall. And it’s likely because I make it a point not to focus on the bad and take time to simply be grateful for the privilege of practicing law. I’m really really blessed.
Can you share something you are struggling with right now?
I wouldn’t characterize it as “struggling,” but I am learning to better say no to assignments and opportunities that are not in alignment with my purpose and calling as an attorney. This keeps me from getting burned out and I’m getting stronger at this everyday.
The best or most worthwhile investment you have ever made?
Investing in professional development and coaching with Momentum Education.
Major goal for the next 5 years:
Raising a family and becoming a better lawyer.
Quote you live your life by:
Keep going. God is working.
Where can people find you say hi:
LinkedIn: Rukayatu Tijani