March 26, 2014 Articles

Achieve Your Greatest Successes by Following Your Dreams

By Lynne Thaxter Brown

I wrote my first brief in the court of appeal—a response to a petition for a writ of mandamus—as a summer law clerk between my second and third years of law school. As a first-year associate waiting for bar results, I “ghost-wrote” my first appellant’s opening brief for my supervising partner—and won, in a published opinion. I have always loved researching and writing, especially appeals and writs, and I am grateful to be doing almost nothing else.

It wasn’t always that way.

After law school I played the part of a typical young associate in the law firm where I’d clerked the summer before, a medium-sized litigation firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. I quickly gained a reputation as a “good writer” and, as typically happens when partners discover an associate “can write,” they started seeking me out for writing projects, especially appeals.

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