In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Texas Lawbook published an article by Muskat Devine attorney Nicole Su on diversity in the law.
Headlined “Embracing my ‘Otherness’ and Forging My Own Path” (subscription required), the article discusses Nicole’s career experiences that led to a feeling of “otherness” and how friends and mentors helped her.
“It wasn’t until I took a course in college on Asian American civil rights that I began to understand the history of exclusion in the United States,” she wrote. “This feeling of ‘other’ that I felt my entire life wasn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, it was a common theme experienced by the generations that preceded me.”
In her article, Ms. Su also recalls comments or actions that contributed to her feeling of “otherness.” She recounts interviewing for a position at a Houston law firm. During the interview, one of the Caucasian lawyers asked her if she knew another Asian American woman in her law school class who was interviewing that same day for the same position. She then realized the firm would not be hiring two Asian American female lawyers. The other lawyer got the job.
To combat the feeling of “otherness,” Ms. Su writes that she found her safe space in the Asian American Bar Association where she serves as president-elect. She also has reached out to friends and mentors. Those include Judge Yvonne Ho, the newest magistrate judge in the U.S. Southern District of Texas and the first AAPI judge in the Houston Division, and Tina Nguyen, recently elected as one of the first Asian American female partners at Baker Botts.
Ms. Su also mentions her supporters – AAPI and non-AAPI – who have provided her with opportunities and the training and experience to grow as an attorney. She credits U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison and attorneys at Muskat Devine.
“These allies have taken the time to learn my story. Rather than rejecting my ‘otherness,’ I now recognize that my experiences and my journey have shaped my own unique perspective. I look forward to transforming my feelings of “otherness,” serving as an ally to others and accomplishing my own ‘first.’”
For more information on Muskat Devine or to contact an Muskat Devine attorney, visit https://muskatdevine.com/contact/.