The first in her family to attend college, Kristen Corpion ’13 entered Big Law at age 24 without any roadmap.
“I had some support, but there wasn’t much practical guidance,” she says. She excelled as an associate, held civic leadership positions, became the first woman and youngest lawyer to win the title Best Closer in South Florida, and received the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Rookie of the Year Award. Yet for many reasons, “I felt lost early in my career,” Corpion says.
When she asked peers if they felt similar angst, responses rang the same bell: Pay your dues. Don’t rock the boat.
“My happiness was never considered,” she says. “The only end goal was uninterrupted trajectory on the standard lawyer conveyor belt. Later, I realized most lawyers feel lost or dissatisfied with some aspect of navigating the profession. I wasn’t the only one.”
Corpion eventually launched her solo practice, and she began teaching part-time at Florida International University. While more gratified professionally, she still wanted to solve the issues she faced early in her career.
Thus was born Sidebar, a burgeoning venture led by “self-identified modern legal professionals,” that helps peers thrive in their local legal community.
Sidebar’s localized, custom resources include “re-imagined” events and a weekly e-newsletter that highlights local job postings, CLEs, legal organizations, and more.
“No top-down, pretentious hierarchies,” Corpion says. “We want to connect and transform legal communities from fragmented and exclusionary to collaborative and welcoming.”
Sidebar officially launched on October 6 with Welcome to the SoFlo Legal Scene, which brought together voluntary bar associations, community organizations, and law professionals through a legal organization fair, workshops, collaboration rooms, and more. Co-sponsored by more than 10 area organizations, the event welcomed attendees to disrupt traditional conventions and to innovate.
“We’re entering into strategic partnerships with these organizations as well as companies, thought leaders, and law schools,” Corpion says. “Local lawyers have been extremely receptive and supportive. The demand for cultural change and a more authentic dialogue is greater than I imagined. Sidebar’s goal is to continue identifying voids in the pipeline to entering and thriving in the legal community, and developing resources to help fill those voids.”