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Nontraditional Paths to a Career in Appellate Law | Mia Lorick

Traditionally, the path to appellate practice often came through a judicial clerkship. But, in recent years, lawyers have worked to forge alternative routes. Mia Lorick, a partner at Locke Lord in Houston, is one of those lawyers. With a background in fine arts, Mia paved her own way into both trial and appellate practice by actively seeking out advocacy opportunities. In this week’s episode, Mia shares her journey and offers tips for other lawyers and law students looking to establish themselves as appellate advocates. Mia also discusses her mission to increase diversity and inclusiveness in legal practice, some initiatives she launched to serve that goal, and her creation of the Suited for Success Scholarship, which helps law students obtain business dress clothes to help kick start their careers.

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Nontraditional Paths to a Career in Appellate Law | Mia Lorick

Our guest is Mia Lorick from Locke Lord in Houston. Welcome to the podcast, Mia.

Thanks for having me.

We are very happy to have you. Why don’t we start off by having you tell our readers a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from, the basics to get us started?

I’m a litigation and appellate partner at Locke Lord in Houston, Texas. My practice is probably 50% trial work and 50% appellate work. I did not major in Political Science or your typical undergraduate degree to get to law school. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Modern Dance and Musical Theater. So my background is a little bit different than most lawyers, but I like to think that it adds to some of my theater and excitement in the courtroom and at oral argument. I’m excited to be here to talk about my experience, my background, and what I hope to accomplish in the future.

We hope you add some vibrancy because Todd and I aren’t the most exciting guys talking about Appellate Law here all day. We are glad to have someone that has got a little more personality.

We are going to talk about your nontraditional path to appellate practice. That was one of the reasons why we asked you to come on the show. But I had no idea that your nontraditional path goes all the way back to your undergrad major. You are likely to add an injection of personality that we don’t have. We are super pleased to hear about that. After college, did you go straight into law school or did you have some time in between?

I had time in between as a starving artist in New York. My undergraduate degree is with North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, majored in Modern Dance and Musical Theater. And then I grew up part of my childhood in New York. After college, I went back. For about 3.5 or 4 years, I performed with different dance companies and musical theater shows, and then decided to go to law school.

Have you ever been drafted by the Houston Bar to do any of their sideshow musical? We do a lot of that here in Austin. I know other bar associations do too. You would seem like a natural fit for some performance art that lawyers don’t ordinarily participate in.

I was heavily recruited prior to COVID. I will just say that.

What made you decide to go back to law school? That’s quite a transition from the arts world in New York.

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My mom is the one that always said she thought that I had a great personality to become a lawyer. She said I was very outgoing. I like to talk and debate. Like most parents seeing their children argue, she was the one that recommended law school. It started when I was twelve. My dad died tragically in an accident in Miami, Florida. It sparked a lawsuit that lasted about a decade. The lawyer that we worked with in Florida became a part of our family for that decade. I learned a lot about the legal system, practicing law, going into court, discovery, depositions. And so that was always in the background.

Even as a dancer, I started thinking about things from a different angle being a performer and wondering, “Who is advocating on behalf of these artists? Who is reviewing contracts for these artists? What does it mean when you join a union?” Different things like that. As I became more experienced in the dance and arts world, going to auditions and joining different companies, the desire to learn more about the law grew and grew. I had a conversation with my mom and she said, “This would be the perfect time in your career to go to law school.”

You went to my favorite law school, the University of Houston, where I went too. How did you end up in Houston from New York?

After my dad passed, my mom who is from Port Arthur, Texas, decided to move the family back to Texas. My dad, Zachary Breaux, was a jazz musician. That was how we moved from Texas originally to New York. He played in jazz nightclubs. He was nominated for a Soul Train Music Awards. We lived in New York there. After he passed, we moved to Texas. My mom, for probably obvious reasons, didn’t want to go back to Port Arthur but wanted to be somewhere close where she could still visit family, so we ended up in Houston.

I grew up in the Golden Triangle, so I understand that very well.

You’ve got an incredible legacy of art tendencies in your family. It seems like it’s carried forward to you. I have to ask, you explained your interest in the law from your unique personal perspective but has that carried forward into your law practice today? Are you working with musicians, dancers, other kinds of artists in your practice at all?

Not yet, but it’s funny that you touch on that because that is something that I’m very interested in doing. Having been a person that has stayed involved in the arts, I still have friends that are in the arts that perform on Broadway, that are in various shows. It is a practice area that I’m very interested in.

After you graduated, what did you wind up doing right after law school?

I worked at a regional firm here in Texas. I targeted that firm, Roberts Markel, because I saw a lot of their young lawyers getting courtroom experience. I arrived at U of H orientation. I’m pre-1L. I’m like, “Where are the mock trial tryouts? Where are the moot court tryouts? I want to be in the courtroom. Let’s get this ball rolling.” I did both of those things while in law school. It was important for me to end up at a law firm that I could use that experience and get good hands-on experience early on. Roberts Markel had some lawyers from U of H there. I saw what they were doing, trying cases, taking depositions, handling dispositive motion hearings, and I said, “I want to go there.”

Another aspect of your nontraditional path to being a board-certified civil appellate lawyer is you went straight from law school into a firm rather than taking the judicial clerkship route. It sounds like you wanted to be in the courtroom, but did you have an idea going into private practice as a young lawyer that you wanted to do appellate work?

Nontraditional Path: It’s fascinating that you could handle a case that then would make a law that is published.

I did not. I started with my first firm, and then maybe about six months in, I was handling a motion for summary judgment. I was able to argue that motion and then the motion went up on appeal in an interlocutory appeal. And that was my first introduction to, “Well, wait a minute, I don’t necessarily want to hand this off. This presents some interesting issues.” Appeals, having been on the moot court team, I was exposed to that in law school but not in the real world. It seemed fascinating to me that you could handle a case that then would make a law that is published. I thought that was incredible. I was like, “I can’t be cut out of that process.”

That’s a very traditional lawyer attitude. We all hear the trial lawyer speak of, “I know the case the best. I handled it in the trial court. Nobody knows it better than I do. I should be the one to handle the appeal.” Many of us in our particular practice area roll our eyes at that and think, “Yeah, but how well do you know the appellate court, the judge’s appellate practice? How well do you write? Can you make an appellate oral argument as opposed to a jury argument?”

You’ve got a different approach to it because you are focusing on the legal aspect of it rather than necessarily the factual stuff. With your background and training, I find that fascinating. I go in to argue a case and I’m like, “I sure hope I don’t bore the panel to death.” Performance art is not something that I could be described as doing but I suppose there are boundaries to that too. You learned along the way what an appellate argument was and what the confines of that were. Do you have to hold yourself back a little bit when you are standing at the lectern?

Oh yeah. But you’re exactly right—the feedback that I got in saying, “I don’t want to be boxed out of this appeal. I handled this motion,”—the feedback was exactly that. It was, “Well, you handled the motion. Somebody with fresh eyes needs to look at it to handle the appeal.” I won’t call myself pushy or aggressive. I will say assertive. I speak up for things that I want. I said, “Can I do the research? Can I write one section of the brief?” If I write one section of the brief or I do research and you are not happy with it, then that’s one thing. But if I do the research, I write a section of the brief and you are okay with it, then can you put me on another appeal? Not necessarily an appeal where I was the trial lawyer, but give me that opportunity.” That was how I got the door cracked open a smidge.

That’s an important lesson and one that I feel like gets under-discussed in appellate practice. There are a lot of people who didn’t necessarily go the federal clerkship route or the state clerkship route that want to do it. Sometimes it is asking, “Is it the way to get in?” Let them know that you are interested, even though you are doing something else, and give it a shot.

You are a great example to young lawyers about how to break in, even those who have taken the traditional path. It’s a hard practice area in a firm of any size to break into. I admire your tenacity, your desire to do it and get the experience of it. We say often here that having trial experience is a good thing for an appellate lawyer to do, but I think we agree. We can look at it from the flip side too: having some appellate experience is good for a trial lawyer as well. But you have managed in your practice with it being in roughly 50/50. That’s pretty unique. We don’t see that a lot. That is a cool way that you have developed that.

You were at your previous firm, but you made the change to Locke Lord here fairly recently I understand.

I moved in January of 2021. The reason for the move was, after becoming board certified in Civil Appellate Law and handling some trials at my prior firm, I had a desire to start working on even larger cases, so multiparty, more amounts in controversy, more federal cases. I knew some of the people at Locke Lord. It’s a great law firm. Another appellate partner, Chris Dove, is well-known in the appellate community. It seemed like the perfect fit, and it has turned out to be the perfect fit. I’m already getting involved in a lot of the trial work here as trial counsel and as appellate counsel, and then some of the appeals that they have going on at the firm. It has been incredible.

Were there any particular types of cases that you focused on or that you focused on at your old firm?

I’m still doing a lot of real estate litigation. Locke Lord handles a lot of energy litigation. I have been getting involved with that, which has seen quite the uptick after the winter storm here in Texas. That has been fun. It has been very fast-paced. I love that. I thrive in that kind of environment, so I joined at the perfect time.

They’re lucky to have you. You bring that unique perspective coming in as a partner too. That’s a nice platform to be able to develop your practice further. I did notice from looking at your biographical information that, at Roberts Markel, you were heavily involved in the diversity initiatives that that firm had put on. Also, you sit on diversity and inclusion panels frequently. Tell us about your experience in doing that.

With my last firm, I started their diversity and inclusion initiative. I joined the firm, and in looking at the website, I saw that it was very diverse. But they didn’t have a statement or any kind of commitment to diversity, at least publicly. One of the things that I’m big on is rather than complain about it or be mad about it, what can you do to change it? I went in and I drafted a proposal. I said, “We need a committee. Here are some of the initiatives I would like to start.” It was accepted by the executive committee, probably within 30 minutes of me sending the proposal. I chaired that committee. We accomplished a lot of initiatives based on retention, recruiting, internal policies.

That made me realize that I was passionate about this area of law. I was passionate about making sure that law firms change with the times. Law schools are more diverse than ever at this point. Not just gender diversity but racial diversity and diversity in backgrounds. I mentioned I didn’t have an undergraduate degree in Political Science. It was in Modern Dance and Musical Theater. All of that, to me, adds to the diversity. The more diversity you have at the table, the better you are able to represent the community. Our community in Houston, Austin, Dallas is very diverse. In order to provide good representation to those clients, you have to have a legal team that represents that community.

I started speaking on panels for diversity and inclusion, attending conferences and talking to people about what do we want the legal profession to look like in the next five, ten, fifteen, twenty years? How do we get there? What are some internal things that we can do when it comes to hiring and retention? Looking at how you are hiring, are you hiring friends and family? Are you hiring at all of the law schools that you could be recruiting from? I have spoken for the ABA on that topic at the HBA and a few other organizations.

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The state bar, TexasBarCLE, that’s a pretty frequent topic for the statewide conferences. It seems like you would be a great candidate if you haven’t done that already to participate in those panels. We are happy to plug you for that. We have tried to lift up people whose voices aren’t always heard as loudly as others. That’s important work that you have done, and to the extent we can pass it along, if you need diversity and inclusion panelists, contact Mia Lorick at Locke Lord in Houston.

It’s a conversation that unfortunately needs to continue to occur. To your point, it has been happening more and more, but it still hasn’t made its way to all corners of the practice. In particular, appellate practice needs diversity and inclusion. There are a lot of great people out there who are recognizing that. It’s taking the steps and figuring out the steps to make that process better, particularly making the pipeline start in law schools, clerkships, and all that kind of stuff. I’m glad to know that you are out there helping promote those things.

You got to Locke Lord in January of 2021. I bet they already had a program in place when you got there.

They have an excellent program here at Locke Lord. It’s one of the other things that attracted me to the firm.

Have you been able to participate in the program at Locke Lord so far? What are your plans there?

I have. They were extremely welcoming and wanted to talk to me as soon as I got here about some of my ideas. We have met a few times about that. I have already been pulled in to assist with law school recruiting to help in that regard. I did some recruiting at my last firm. I had some ideas and thoughts about that. They have been so open arms with me––“Come and share your ideas. Tell us how we can be better.”

What are some resources or places that people could go to that are in firms or on their own that may not have access to a formal program or would like to start a program and increase those efforts? Are there places they can go to find those?

Todd mentioned the State Bar of Texas. The state bar has excellent resources and articles on the website that you can download for free. The Houston Lawyer magazine has had some exceptional articles on the topics of diversity and inclusion. Honestly, given the climate that we are in, everything that happened with George Floyd in 2020, if you simply Google diversity and inclusion resources, many books and articles come up. There are YouTube channels that are guided towards this topic. There is so much material out there.

What I have heard is not that it’s a lack of finding the material. It’s being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. What I would say, especially to a non-diverse lawyer who is wanting to be an ally, help in this diversity and inclusion space, is to start somewhere. It’s having the commitment and saying that you want to learn and you want to make things better, whether it’s in your law firm or in your community, is the right attitude. There’s no right or wrong way to do it as long as you are doing something.

It seems like part of diversity initiatives would be the concept of mentorship. You probably get the opportunity, maybe not at Locke Lord yet, but will before too much longer, to mentor younger lawyers coming into the firm or maybe summer associates. I’m sure even outside of your own firm, there are abundant opportunities to do that. You have been directly involved in that. What kind of work have you been doing with respect to mentorship?

I have quite a few mentees. It’s something that I am very passionate about, especially if you have had a challenging upbringing or getting to where you are that you have an obligation to reach back down the ladder and help other people up, whether it’s accepting an invitation for coffee, lunch, a phone call, offering some advice about your story and what you went through. I mentor quite a few law students and younger lawyers. That began in my role as an adjunct professor at U of H, teaching trial advocacy depositions and then also being involved in the NITA Deposition course. I met a lot of younger lawyers and law students. I threw it out there. “I’m always here to help if you need anything.”

Nontraditional Path: There is no right or wrong way to start helping in the diversity and inclusion space. You just need to have the commitment to learn and the desire to make things better.

A lot of them have followed up and reached out via email or on LinkedIn. I make it a point to respond and offer the time that I can offer to help them out. It became apparent to me that the more people that I started talking to had similar questions, especially the women. “What do I wear going into the office? What should I do about approaching a partner for work?” Those kinds of questions. What I did was I started a blog called Sharply Suited that took all of the little nuggets, pieces of advice that I was giving my mentees but also pieces of advice that I was receiving from my mentors. I put it into one spot and said, “This would be a great way to get this information out.”

I took it a step further. I said, “Mentorship is more than just saying, ‘Here are the things you need to do, steps 1 through 10,’ but what am I doing that would impact a lot of the law students and their concerns that I’m hearing?” That’s how I started the Suited for Success Scholarship. I remembered that when I was in law school, I was competing for the mock trial team, it was, “You have to go out and make sure that you have a business suit for competitions.” I’m like, “No problem.” I go out. I look at the price tag and I’m like, “$500 for a suit jacket. Who can afford that?” I scraped my money together and I had one suit.

I remember if you have competed before for these advocacy competitions, you will have multiple rounds back-to-back. They may have three preliminary rounds. If you are lucky enough to break, you have three more rounds. You are doing all of that. Having one suit can be a bit challenging. It can be a bit of an ego and confidence kill if you are self-conscious about that. In the bathroom scrubbing your suit and hoping it dries by the morning. That was something I dealt with. I remember talking to a lot of my mentees and they were like, “Where can I find affordable clothing? Is it okay to mix a suit jacket with a different pair of pants and skirts? What if the blacks don’t match?” I started the scholarship as a way to help with that.

The Suited for Success Scholarship is awarded to law students with its funds that they can use to buy a business suit or business clothing. Shirts that go underneath the suit, ties, shoes, anything that they would need that would help them for interviewing, job placement or advocacy competitions. The first year that I did it, I self-funded the scholarship and gave out two scholarships at the University of Houston Law Center. I had a lot of friends see it on LinkedIn.

One of my friends here at Locke Lord, Jonathan Pelayo, is a graduate of the University of Texas. He saw it and said, “This would be so awesome to start at UT Law.” My hope is to expand it throughout Texas to get more lawyers on board. A lot of lawyers have been supportive and donated to the scholarship. In 2021 at UT Law, we awarded ten scholarships. U of H has not been awarded yet but I’m hoping it’s 7 to 10 in 2021. We have gone from 2 to 10. My hope in the future is that it’s even bigger so that we are getting a lot of law students and baby lawyers in fabulous-looking suits.

If people wanted to either donate, support the scholarship or maybe expand it to different schools, how would be a good way to reach out to you to find out about that?

They could email me at Mia.Lorick@LockeLord.com. I would be happy to talk with them about expanding it either to their law school or talking to them about any amount that they are able to donate. There is no minimum amount. We accept all amounts. The letters that these law students write that received this scholarship would touch anybody’s heart. If you could only give $5, you would be, in five seconds saying “Take everything I have. Take this $5.” The letters are so heartwarming and so touching.

I remember very well those days when you think, “I’ve got 1 or 2 suits. I’ve got to figure out how to make this work.” It’s very tough. That was many years ago because I’m old. I can only imagine knowing what law school costs. It’s an even bigger financial pressure.

That’s a fabulous program. I would love to see it. I will call out my friends at St. Mary’s, my law school, and say that we could use that there, Texas Tech. I’m sure they could use some business suits in West Texas to get ready for their advocacy. South Texas, good grief. They’ve got a great advocacy program. I’m sure they have some law students who could use that. It is very impressive the way that that’s taken off. I certainly hope that it does expand to other law schools. If Jody went to law school many years ago, it’s double for me. I recall the same dilemma.

Back in Todd’s days, they still wore powdered wigs and knee britches but a little bit different morning coats.

I wanted to come back to you about the mentorship thing. You mentioned using LinkedIn and your blog as ways to mentor other lawyers. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentorship program. Anybody through connections in real life, on social media, mentorship can take a lot of different forms. LinkedIn is great if you can do it, your blogs providing that information out there to the general public. You can reach a lot of people doing that. I would encourage lawyers who want to get involved in mentorship. You don’t have to do it as part of a formal program.

You can do what you did. Make connections with people. Talk with them. Pick a younger lawyer if you’ve got the time and energy to do some mentoring. Take an interest in them. We are opening up a little bit. Take them to lunch. Talk about their lives and everything. Get to know them better. I have tried to do that in my career. People did it with me. It’s incredible just the impact not a great amount of effort can have on someone. We all face, especially as young lawyers, imposter syndrome and trying to figure out our way in this practice of law. There is so much meaning that can come out of those modest efforts to mentor other people.

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Once you become a lawyer, you forget a little bit about what it means to a law student to meet and connect with a lawyer or to hear about your daily practice. I remember reaching out to a lawyer when I was a law student. She said, “I have fifteen minutes in between meetings. Would you want to come up to my office and maybe meet for fifteen minutes?” Later she told me that she felt bad. “I only had fifteen minutes. You had to schlep all the way up to my office. I told her, “I had never been in a law office. Fifteen minutes was enough time for me to ask you questions that I wanted to ask.”

Being in her law office, seeing other lawyers walk around was incredible. She didn’t realize the impact that had on me. Lawyers have to remember that it doesn’t take a lot of time. Maybe you are driving from a hearing back to the office, you have ten minutes and you can talk to somebody during that commute or you can meet for coffee. If you have time for lunch, that is great, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort. We all have the time to mentor.

We do take things for granted, sometimes thinking about coming to a law office, seeing it and being in the space. You can have a huge impact on somebody. Before COVID, I did that every day and even still do multiple days per week. That’s a good thing to remember.

One other thing I wanted to be sure and ask you about was how you balance having an active litigation practice going to trial and dealing with all the things that go with that with also having an active appellate practice? For me, I steered my practice to focus on appeals early on. Looking back on it, having to think about deposition schedules, discovery deadlines, talking to experts, designations, etc.––with all the deep thinking that you have to do as an appellate lawyer, I had a real hard time reconciling that. I don’t think I would be able to do it well. I’m always impressed by people who can. Tell us how you balance those two, what I see as competing areas for your time.

You hit the nail on the head there. The trial work is very deadline-oriented. Things come up very quickly. There could be a TRO that you hear about. You have to handle it that afternoon, or depositions, discovery, and always your fights with opposing counsel that are riveting. What I love about the appellate work and a lot of appellate practitioners is that it’s not so deadline-focused. We have deadlines but you usually have a lot of time before you are up on that deadline. Unless there is some emergency relief in the appellate courts, there’s rarely anything that is going to come up and derail your day. Scheduling-wise, making sure that if there is an appellate deadline, I’m not waiting until the week before to write the brief.

You want to make sure that the brief is the best work of art that you have submitted to whatever Court of Appeals. Starting that research early, working on the brief early and circulating it to your colleagues for edits early so that way, if anything does come up in your trial practice, you are not like, “I have a brief to write.” Also, communicating with your colleagues saying, “We are trying to schedule these depositions. I know that you want to do these but I have a brief that’s due. Can we push that up a week?” Being proactive about letting everybody know what you have going on. I’m also a little bit nerdy in the sense that I will have folders of different hot button appellate issues. Things that keep recurring.

For instance, the TCPA anti-SLAPP statute that comes up a lot, attorney’s fees. Stay abreast of the cases that are coming down and things that are happening in the appellate realm so that when you are writing a brief, you are not starting from scratch with your research. You have that not only base knowledge but then, “I remember the case that came down. I have already read it and analyzed it.” You are starting from that perspective. Having that appellate experience and applying it to your trial practice is invaluable. You have to know how to craft an order that is going to be scrutinized on appeal. You have to know how to preserve error in the trial court, talking to your colleagues in the trial court. Not in a way of like, “You don’t know what you are doing but here are some things to consider. Here are cases that discuss these issues that you are having at the trial level.”

I think it makes you a well-rounded person. I don’t know that I would want my practice to be 100% trial work. It is very stressful. I like having the, not lull, but having that time where you can sit, dive into a narrow issue of law, research it, find all the nuances and cases about it. That is what I think of as more relaxing. I love the balance of the two.

Any advice for students who maybe didn’t come up the traditional path that want to break into appellate law?

Speaking up, asking to be a part of the appellate process. Maybe you are not going to get hired in the appellate section or not going to be considered an appellate lawyer. You need to make sure that you are taking the steps that you need to take that would make you a good appellate lawyer. If you work for a law firm that has an appellate section and you are not in the section or they are not asking you to write a brief but you are an excellent writer. You have great points, you know how to research and apply that research to the analysis that needs to happen, why would they not utilize you, especially if you are showing an interest? Making sure that your writing is great, getting feedback on your writing. You can’t write something and then think, “This is the best motion to ever be filed in the court system ever.”

It could be great but ask a partner or a more experienced lawyer for feedback. When you handle a hearing or a deposition, ask for feedback, read your transcript, look at how you sound on paper. Try to get the experience to continue getting better and then not taking no for an answer. Asking if you can research an appeal, asking to write a section of the brief. The first oral argument that I did, I didn’t get that oral argument because they said, “Mia, the second year she needs to handle this.” That was not how I got it. I got it because I said, “The lawyer who is going to handle this oral argument is going to need to do a moot argument. She is going to need to spar against somebody. Why not offer to be that person?”

I offered to do that. We did three moot rounds at the law firm with other lawyers watching. By the end of it, I said, “There’s this waiver issue. It’s probably a 3- to 5-minute issue at the oral argument. Can I argue those 3 to 5 minutes?” She said, “Take five.” The next time I argued, I got half of the argument. It’s not taking an all-or-nothing approach and saying, “I’m not in the section. I didn’t get to write the full brief or argue in front of the Texas Supreme Court. I’m leaving. I’m going somewhere else.” It’s taking the baby steps, maybe starting with the research, the memo, a section of the brief, saying that you will meet an attorney to go through their oral argument outline and offer feedback.

Nontraditional Path: Having appellate experience and applying it to your trial practice is invaluable.

Little things like that that show your interest in the practice, your commitment to doing the work and that you have a desire to do it is what people want. They want zealous advocates for their clients. If I have a young lawyer who is like, “I’m super interested in this issue, look at these cases. Here are my ideas. Here’s a great outline for the brief.” I’m going to take that any day over somebody who is smart where I have to go to them and say, “Here’s what I need.” Remember that passion will take you a long way, passion, hard work and the ability to ensure that you are getting that constructive feedback to become better.

It’s a checklist for a young lawyer who wants to get into appellate practice but maybe doesn’t know the way, wasn’t informed or didn’t take that traditional path that might put them into the appellate section coming right out of law school. Going into the appellate section isn’t necessarily the path that even those who are on the traditional path take. Sometimes whether you had a clerkship or not, whether you were editor of the law review or not. Those are the things that you have to do if you decide that you are going to become an appellate lawyer to get there and make it. That is great advice. I will look forward to sharing that with other people who want to get on this path. That’s wonderful. We have come to the point in the program where we ask our guests for a tip or a war story. That checklist you rattled off is a good tip. I’m excited to hear from your perspective what specific tip or war story that you would like to share with our readers?

I would give the tip of being nice and respectful to everyone that you encounter. There is something to be said about being a great lawyer, working hard and rising to the peak of your career. If you are not a nice person and people don’t like you, you are not going to be successful. That goes for dealing with colleagues at work, dealing with law students, your paralegal or assistant, a clerk at the court, the parking attendant at the courthouse, everybody. It’s a small community and reputation carries you very far. You would be surprised how many calls I get from people who say, “Another person was speaking very highly of you. I wanted to reach out.” Your hard work matters but maintaining a good attitude that’s respectful of everyone around you and inclusive of everyone around you will take you so much further.

That’s a great tip and what a perfect thing to end on because that’s right.

Mia, thank you so much for coming on with us. We have enjoyed visiting with you and hearing about your journey from a very nontraditional major coming into law school and your path since then. Hopefully, people who read this who aren’t quite sure of their own path will take some encouragement from what you have done. You have certainly been successful with it. Congratulations. We are glad to get to know you and count you among our guests on the show.

Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure being here. I meant what I said about people reaching out. If any readers want to reach out, Mia.Lorick@LockeLord.com. I would be happy to visit.

Thanks, everyone, for reading.

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About Mia Lorick

Mia Lorick is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in civil appellate law and concentrates her practice on real estate litigation, commercial litigation and professional liability defense. She practices trial and appellate law and has argued before the Texas Supreme Court as well as numerous intermediate courts of appeals. In addition to her practice, Mia has been an advocate for a more equitable legal profession, having founded and directed her former firm’s diversity and inclusion initiative. She regularly speaks on diversity and inclusion panels, most recently for the American Bar Association.

In addition to serving as an avid mentor in her practice, Mia is a faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s deposition skills training courses. At the University of Houston Law Center, she serves as an adjunct professor and founded the Suited for Success scholarship, which awards law students the funds needed to buy a business suit for interviewing. The scholarship has since been expanded to the University of Texas School of Law.

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