Why "Fit for Advocacy"?: Strengthening the Pipeline for Black and Brown Lawyers

"I want to be the tallest and brightest lighthouse to draw other Black, Brown, and First Gen law students and young lawyers near to share nuggets I have found and am still finding on this journey." 
-Christina M. Carroll (me)

Several years ago, I met with a judge in town who's known for their vocal support of the Black community, my community.  This judge asked me what I was doing to support the pipeline.  I was shocked - me?  "I'm just trying to survive out here!" I thought to myself.  I've come to know better and to realize reaching out is how we survive.  As my brother recently educated me, the Zulu people of South Africa use the term "Ubuntu," which so clearly captures my sentiments here: I am because we are.  

Light green watercolor splashes on white square describing the Zulu principle of ubuntu to mean I am because we are and crediting graphic to fit for advocacy on Instagram

Law isn't for the faint of heart - the politics, the hours, the adversity, the judge of character, the debt.  Many of us are First Generation too, meaning we haven't had the blessing of someone before us to help us navigate this new world.  That's why "Fit for Advocacy."  

A couple of months ago, the Texas Women's Foundation held its annual luncheon to raise money for its mission of moving women and families forward.  They invited decorated Olympian, momthlete, and entrepreneur, Allyson Felix, to be their keynote speaker.  Cynt Marshall, Dallas Mavericks CEO, interviewed her live on stage.  Talk about a dynamic duo!  (Seriously, if you've never heard Cynt Marshall speak, keep an eye out for another opportunity and go.  She's wonderful - funny, bold, and wise.)

Allyson shared a story about how, as a young girl, she wanted to make friends.  So.. what if she joined the track team?  We know what happened after that point!  Later in her storied career, she was venting to her brother about the offering for track spikes then available.  His simple question in response: "What if we do this ourselves?"  Thus was born her new shoe company, By:Saysh.  What she realized from just these two instances was that she could create change instead of asking someone to do it, and so she has in a very big way: from pioneering in track, to advocating at Nike, to changing how women's shoes are made right down to the shoe template (they use a woman's foot rather than a man's to create women's shoes!).  Yes, I'm a #FanGirl, so here's another link to read more about what she's been working on since her Nike advocacy days.

Light green square graphic with Allyson Felix quote in black font and credit to @fitforadvocacy

Now, I don't mean to liken myself to Allyson Felix with her hard-earned notoriety and all.  I do mean to follow suit in terms of creating change.  For many years, I lamented about not knowing the rules of the game.  Let's be honest, everything we do is a game.  No, not frivolous.  But everything we do has rules, players, winners and losers, prizes, elimination risks.  That's what "Fit for Advocacy" is - my way of sharing the rules of the Game of Law based on the nuggets I've picked up along the way and am still finding.

I'll be writing new blog posts to explore what it means to be fit for advocacy, along with sharing snippets across social media.  All are welcome.  My focus is other Black law students and young lawyers because that's my lived experience and where I needed support.  I'm creating the change by being that support to someone else, hopefully. [Update: I realized pretty soon after this post and sharing my intentions “in the universe” that those who identify “of color” have many of the same experiences in law. Many of my mentees are “of color,” and even my own kids are Black and Brown. This is for you and the First Gens like me.  Once again, I do not exclude at all. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be shared and gleaned from everyone - “every (wo)man is my teacher” - but there’s a particular need to address here.]

Below describes the how.

"Fit" will cover three different categories.  Mental, ethical, and emotional fitness.  As I said earlier, being a lawyer is hard.  It's hard on the mind, taxing your brain all day every day.  It's hard on the heart, having to face the microaggressions that come with working in Corporate America where we are still very much a minority.  But we also have to remember we must be of utmost character on the ethical front.  We'll explore these topics in GREEN so that they'll be easy to find.

Light green square describing the fit of fit for advocacy with three icons (1) a heart inside a brain for mental, emotional, and ethical, (2) a body and leaf for physical, and (3) a dollar sign for financial

"Advocacy" will cover two topics plus interviews.  The first is how to be a trial attorney, which is my area of law.  The second is writing tips.  In the interviews, we'll explore other areas of law beyond litigation - M&A, regulatory, IP; beyond private practice - general counsel roles, government; and even beyond traditional legal practice - lawyer turned CEO, lawyer turned journalist.  That's what I'm calling the "Beyond" series.  These topics will be in PURPLE.

Light purple square describing the advocacy of fit for advocacy with 2 icons (1) a gavel for how to be a trial attorney and (2) a pencil for writing tips plus a note about the beyond series to explore other areas of law

I'll also share some topics in BLUE to cover the business and operational side of law, such as business development and how to write a billing blurb for an invoice + why it matters beyond the client and what is a realization rate.  I'll also note similar points about law school beyond the books, e.g., the importance of "networking" with classmates.

Light blue square noting fit for advocacy will cover the business side of law and navigating law school beyond the books

The rest will be motivational quotes and jokes interspersed with my personal story.

I've been thinking of doing this a long while.  I'm finally moving on it.  I hope you'll move with me.


Always feel free to leave comments, DM me about topics you'd like to discuss, or even reach out for a one-on-one.  It ain't easy, and it often feels lonely.  I'm here for you.  DISCLAIMER (because what lawyer doesn't like those): I'm still a full-time working attorney and full-time wife and mama.  Requesting grace on response times!


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