Being a criminal defence lawyer is a part of my identity that I am still growing in. In my early days, a senior lawyer told me that in order to succeed I should always be humble and be aware of what I don’t know even more than what I do know. With that in mind I continued being my humble self as taught by my Pakistani immigrant parents.
Another piece of “advice” I received was not to let my hair down in court. At the time I did not think much of it and thought the woman recommending this was experienced so it must have some value. Looking back at it I realize how disoriented that advice was. I have spent a good portion of my life trying to hide my “difference”. Of course I did not get too far with it given my brown skin, immigrant baggage, attempts at hiding my accent, drinking juice at socials rather than alcohol and forever feeling alienated because of my failed attempts.
Did I really spend all those years struggling to first get into law school and then getting through it so that I could hide myself and just blend with the crowd, which is heavily dominated by white men in the criminal defence bar?