I swear this blog is starting to write itself and take on a mind of its own. I am but the lowly fleshy messenger transcribing a message sent from parts unknown.

Moments after posting my last piece Visibility and Transparency, a friend from high school commented on the post via Facebook that she had had a green light moment recently and had given herself the permission to pursue a goal of hers, perfectly embracing the fear that came along with this decision. She was not paralyzed, but empowered by it. I believe that fear is an indication that we are going in the right direction.

I was so excited when she responded that I did not take a moment to thank her for her authenticity and candor, so I will do so here and now. I was mainly focused on offering support while trying not to be overly intrusive. No details were given about the nature of her pursuit, but that was beside the point. The fact of the matter is that she made the decision to take an important leap. She gave herself the green light. You need no one’s permission other than your own to pursue your next calling.

With that in mind I would like to extend an invitation far and wide. If you would like to submit your Green Light story, please submit any pieces for consideration to The more voices the better. While I do enjoy the sound of my own, what good is just one perspective? I would be honored to offer a platform for your tales. I made what I believe is a crucial error in the past by sharing only when something I perceived to be “good” or beneficial happened. I made a mistake in not sharing some of the struggles and tumultuous times in between. I say that to say that there no stone should be left unturned and all should feel free to share whatever they may so be inspired to share for there may be someone who can benefit from your Green Light.

Thank you Sara for being the first. On that note, here is the unofficial theme song of The Green Light (La Luz Verde) – Beyonce “Green Light”.


Visibility and Transparency

This post has been a long time coming. It was only a matter of time before I felt confident enough and felt the flow of inspiration to put pen to paper, idea to page without regard to praise or criticism. When I started this blog 6 years ago (o my goodness, where has the time gone?!?!), I was not entirely sure what the purpose of it would be, I just wanted to write. You can check out that post here.

Even though I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish it, the theme of “visibility” was the entire premise behind the meaning of the name of this blog: “La Luz Verde” or “The Green Light”. The phrase means that not only should you give yourself the green light to go and follow your dreams and passions, but your green light should inspire other around you to give that same permission to themselves.

A glowing sea of green surrounds me. The people in my personal life and professional network are unashamedly and unabashedly pursuing their passions, taking steps towards their dreams and all the while leading an examined life. They live purposefully and intentionally. They are not afraid to enter into a state of reflection or meditation and examine themselves. What they “know” to be true today continues to be true for them because when subjected to scrutiny and questioning, the belief still holds true. Jeff Rouner recently challenged students of the world alike to remember that opinions and beliefs can and should be challenged on a regular basis and that it is not wrong or offensive to ask others to do so with their opinions as well. Think before you speak and act.

The value of being visible to others has never been lost on me. Throughout different times in my life I have looked to role models or those who have walked a similar path, as a source inspiration and motivation, for their know how, for their story, for encouragement. Some of those role models have changed across the years based on my needs and the goals that I set for myself. Sometimes I simply needed to be reminded that I had a purpose when I all too frequently got distracted and deterred by the infinite demands of our fast-paced ultra-connected society.

By not consciously deciding what that purpose is in the past I have passively allowed others to set it for me or to use me for their own gain, at times at a detriment to myself. Even when we think we are doing nothing we are doing something for someone. Sitting on your phone for hours, scrolling, tapping on links, liking photos, or swiping past profiles, and exposing yourself to the messages of others is great for advertisers, but not so great for your wallet or for what you and that “greater sense of self” want to accomplish.

When I wrote that first blog those some years ago I knew the value of visibility and transparency, but lacked the confidence (despite my initial affirmations) in the value of my ideas, thoughts, and experiences. Today, I couldn’t be more sure of myself. The most pronounced difference between now and then is that I have finally, and I mean FINALLY lost the fear of failure and criticism, the fear of being or doing something wrong. There is just as much, and some would argue more, value in our mistakes than our successes and I truly welcome those with views different from my own. Here’s to writing about them all!

I would love to hear from some of you about opposite side of the coin, that perhaps a life in the green lime light (see what I did there? ; ) ) isn’t quite right for everyone. Sound off in the comments below!

Visibility and Transparency

Six Months Later . . .

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.13.27 AM

Six months ago today I opened up the doors to my law firm. Regrettably, however, nearly the same amount of time has passed since a new post has been shared. Now seems like an appropriate time as any to sit and reflect on what has come to pass, what I have learned, and in what direction I would like to move from here. I say “would like to” because although I can visualize and imagine a trajectory, undoubtedly a unexpected unidentified flying object is  going to cross directly in the path of said trajectory and send me veering off course to parts yet unknown, which may turn out to be better than anything I could have planned for.

So first and foremost on the list of things that I have learned: working alone is both one of the easiest and hardest things to do.

I know, I know. You’re thinking “But Tabitha, how can it be both the easiest and hardest thing to do at the same time?!?” Settle down there kids, I’ll tell you. In this day and age, starting up a business doesn’t require much. In the case of law firm, one can get by with a computer, scanner, printer, malpractice insurance, a post office box and bank accounts. After these basic necessities are met, the rest is up to you. No physical office space, no problem, meet with clients where it’s convenient for them. Email, electronic file storage, and more can make the practice of law a mobile endeavor. That was the easy part.

Now for the hard part. It would seem that I am something of a reluctant social butterfly, meaning that even when I want to work and be by myself, I enjoy working and being by myself in the company of others. (OK OK I’ll quit it with the oxymorons). I get motivated and encouraged by seeing others around me hard at work, feverishly typing, quizzically pondering the questions of the day, and deeply involved in their passionate pursuits. On my own, I get distracted, lose focus and drift far far off from the task at hand. When I first started back in February, working out of the spare bedroom in my parents home, this was the number one problem. Hours seemingly whirred by and too few of those were productively used. This could not go on for long and luckily for me, it didn’t.

The perfect solution practically fell into my lap. Well, not really. There were a number of calculated steps that led to my current and more agreeable arrangement. I will elaborate the steps in another post as they are part of another important topic for discussion that deserves to be paid close attention. One word. Networking.

So the end result of my calculated measures is that I am currently Of Counsel to the firm of Hanan M. Isaacs, P.C. in Kingston, NJ. For my non-lawyer readers, that means that in addition to serving the needs of and representing my own clients, I do the same for the clients of Hanan M. Isaacs, P.C. on an as needed basis as an independent contractor, and not as employee of the firm. As I tell Hanan on a pretty regular basis, this arrangement has been something of a win-win-win. It’s a win for Hanan, a win for me, and then a win for this new entity/relationship we formed by joining forces. I get to learn about new areas of law that I had never had the opportunity to encounter before, I’m learning new things first hand everyday about the running of a small firm, and I still get build my firm and my brand and practice the law in a way that stays true to my own philosophies. And best of all, I get to work by myself around other people. This was just what I needed and it came at the perfect time.

These last six months have been incredible. I have learned a great deal about myself and what I am capable of. There appear to be no limits outside of those that are self-imposed. The question “what’s next?” is always in my thoughts. I hope to keep you updated here on the latest happenings and the adventures along the way to answering that question. Visibility and transparency are two themes that I want to be important and integral aspects of my practice. What you do is of no use to someone else if they can’t see it.

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, what are some of the challenges you have faced when just starting out and what were your solutions? Share in the comments below!

Six Months Later . . .

One Year Later

Had you told me one year ago that today I would be a small business owner and have my own solo practice I would have laughed in your face before you finished the sentence. Yet, here I am doing just that. Over the course of the last six months I have been putting in the work to be able to open the doors to The Law Offices of Tabitha Y. Clark. On February 2, 2015 I did just that.

Being in business for one self has the clichéd benefits of being able to set your own hours, not having to answer to anyone other than yourself, and being able to pursue your vision of where you want the company to go and how you believe it should grow. It also has its setbacks, like not having anyone to pick up the slack when your attention is elsewhere. On February 4, 2015 I signed my first client. It also unexpectedly became the day that I lost my grandfather. Not long after finishing up my client meeting and preparing to dive headfirst into the tasks at hand, I received a text from my father: “your grandfather is in the hospital. It doesn’t look good”.

My Grandfather with his brother
My Grandfather with his brother

Preparing myself for the worst, my mother and I and one of my aunts made our way to the hospital. We knocked on the door and my father stepped out to greet us. The first words out of his mouth were “he’s gone”. I had seen my father cry on only two other occasions: at the funerals of my godfather and second cousin. This was for certain the most severe of any instance. For the first time, I held and supported my father. I told him how sorry I was for him and offered words of comfort although there was nothing I could say to ease his hurt. The same pain slowly crept up my spine, into my stomach, and then my throat as I saw my grandfather lying on the table in a small room of the ER. I expected him to greet me with smiling eyes and his signature “ho ho ho!”, but the tube down his throat would clearly not allow him to do so.

There is nothing that can prepare you for the loss of a parent or loved one. Inevitably it seemed, a few days later when I was alone with my father in the car, our conversation took a morbid turn and we discussed what plans for final preparations he and my mother had made up to this point and whether, given the passage of time, those plans were still appropriate. That conversation will never be an easy one. I find myself clutching loved ones that much closer and more eagerly lapping up those tender moments that come too far and few between, trying to secure every detail to memory.

I spent the afternoon with my grandfather the day before he died. He had been complaining of back pain and such was having difficulty getting around so I offered to stay the afternoon to lend a hand. I am forever going to be grateful for that time that we were able to spend together. The last thing I said to him before stepping out that evening was “I love you” and I gingerly kissed his forehead before he drifted off to sleep again.

My grandfather pushed me to become the accomplished woman that I am today. Although I have much farther to go, it was his confidence and pride in his family that drove me to always be and do my best, despite how often I may have fallen short of that aspiration. This post does not do him justice. My grandfather’s impact was far and wide. He was loved and admired by his community, his family, and beyond. His love, kindness, and integrity are unmatched. The outpouring my family has received these past few days has been such a comfort.

2015 looks nothing like I had envisioned it would look like this time last year. I certainly was not prepared for this heartache. However, for better or for worse, as it is in this case, I will make it a year to remember. I will make my grandfather proud and build on the legacy he left behind.


Here’s What’s Been Happening . . .

I am an attorney. I am a lawyer. I am of counsel.

No matter how many different ways I say it, I always wonder if I’m trying to convince myself or the person I am speaking to that those words are true.

Here it is, three years since I last posted on this site and I am a licensed attorney in the State of New Jersey (NY licensing pending). Taking the bar exam was one of the most grueling experiences I have ever been through. It tested my stamina, my resolve, my relationships, and my self-image.  I had been studying for three years, and now here was this exam that would determine whether or not I would be able to work in my field.  I slowly became nocturnal as the distractions of the daily world proved to be too much.  I would study into the late hours of the night and sleep during the day.  My routine paid off. It worked for me. I passed.When ever anyone asks me for tips for studying for the bar I always offer up the same bit of advice. You know what works for you. You go this far. Keep doing what you know works for you.

So where did passing the bar exam get me? Well, I am currently employed in my first full time job. I have officially entered the work force and without some extreme ingenuity it does not appear that I will be exiting the rat race any time soon. The position is the first of its kind at any law school. I am an associate and program fellow at Rothman & Associates, the law firm within the Rutgers Law Associates Fellowship Program. Yes, that is a mouth full and hopefully it will soon be known as simply “Rutgers Law Associates” once firms in New Jersey are permitted to use trade names in the firm’s names.  The program is designed to provide an affordable source of legal services for those who are low to moderate income. For the newly minted attorneys it provides the opportunity to practice under an experienced litigator and be equipped with the tools to open up a solo practice at its conclusion should we so choose.  We aim to assist those who do not qualify for or are conflicted out of legal services and whom cannot afford a market rate attorney. The firm also has the mission of serving those who suffer from mental illness. The program received a large portion of its startup funding from a trust that was created in memory of a young man that suffered from mental illness. We exist in part to help ensure that the special and unique needs of that community is served. You can read more about the program here in an article run by the Star-Ledger

A glance into the office of the Rutgers Law Associates
A glance into the office of the Rutgers Law Associates


It almost goes without saying that contact with legal system for some is a life altering experience. Cases have come across my desk that range the full spectrum of possible emotional and financial impact. The people who come to our office do so with their most stressful and yet precious problems. The custody of their children, the only home they have ever known, or their livelihood in some cases may be on the line. The most common questions that I get are “can you help me?”, “will you be my lawyer” or “what can we do”. Their problems have gotten to the point where they are so deep within them and embedded that there is little light at the end of the tunnel.

From an outside perspective, I am able to compartmentalize and analyze a problem and provide a number of possible outcomes. I can offer no guarantees, to the dismay of some, about how a particular judge will feel that day, or whether their adversary will accept their latest settlement proposal. Initially, not being able to provide clients with more certainty gave me great discomfort. However, with each case I have become more at ease with the uncertainty, more at ease with the fact that my value comes not from the outcome, but from the advice, information, and work product that I am able to provide that they would not otherwise have. Although I conceptually understanding of that, it took me a while to accept it and apply it in practice.

The purpose of this blog was to give anyone who happened upon it “The Green Light” that they might not otherwise feel comfortable giving themselves. You need no one’s permission to be great. You need no one’s permission or approval to create and experience the world as you want it to be. I hope that I leave that impression with the people that I encounter on a day to day basis. I hope that by removing or guiding them through this obstacle that has come up in their lives they feel empowered or free and unencumbered to move on and be whatever they so choose. Even if the outcome is not in their favor it is important that they nonetheless feel as though their cause has been heard and fought for.

Check back here for more about my journey in navigating through the legal arena and for tips and tricks along the way.

Here’s What’s Been Happening . . .

A Driver’s License for the Internet Highway

Today in The Huffington Post I came across an article that reads “Denmark Police Propose a Ban on Anonymous Internet Use“. Users would be forced to provide some sort of identification before using public internet access sites and ISP providers would likewise have to track the internet usage of their customers.

After the recent attacks on Sony, various credit card companies, and even the CIA, it will only be a matter of time before similar legislation is proposed right here in the grand old U.S. of A. In essence, the internet has had a contrived sense of privacy. Our trips through cyberspace are easily traceable, the question is what access, if any, should law enforcement have to information and with what ease should they be able to get it?

In an earlier post I commented on an article that brought into question the admissibility of MySpace chats between the co-defendants where they discussed and/or planned their crime in detail. As I discussed in an earlier post the issue was that the police could not definitively determine that it was the co-defendants that conducted the conversations in question. The ban on anonymous internet use would eliminate the doubt of a user’s identity in a criminal investigation and hold them accountable for all online activity.

I can easily see the music and film industries putting their full support behind this measure. More people the activity of the largest and smallest offenders of copyright law would be easily ascertainable. Aside from those benefits the traffic of child pornography would greatly decrease, and those who perpetrate identity theft and credit card scams would be more easily apprehended.

Do the benefits outweigh the negative impact on each user individually? Is there a fundamental right to be able to conduct activity online anonymously? Something to consider when answering that question is he nature of the Internet. Every post, click, and keystroke is traceable. We leave a digital footprint behind in everything that can be followed back to the computer of origin if not the poster. The Internet highway is just that, a highway. And like any highway perhaps in order to use it you should have to present identification holding you responsible for the way that you choose to navigate it.

A Driver’s License for the Internet Highway

Be careful what you say, type, text etc. . .

An article caught my attention. Titled “Trenton slaying case focuses on MySpace chats to plot killing by Bloods gang members“, it focuses on whether or not the chats should be admissible in court. The defense’s main argument is that the prosecution, short of having video of the accused actually sending the messages or eyewitness testimony, cannot prove that every message was sent by the accused. According to the article the prosecution has been able to definitively prove through IP addresses that the messages came from the computers of the co-defendants.

What kind of a message does this send? This can be analyzed from various view points. Some would read this article and be in favor of allowing the evidence in court. All that the evidence really shows us, however, is that the murder was planned over myspace chats by someone using the accounts and the home computers of the co-defendants. Although it is somewhat unlikely that someone both broke into the homes of and gained access into the accounts of the co-defendant’s it is still the prosecutor’s job to prove that said messages were indeed written and sent by the co-defendant’s.

How often do you leave your phone sitting on your desk at work when you get up to use the restroom? Or leave a web page up on your computer at home and a friend asks to use it for a few moments? We have to be careful when it comes to dealing with new technology and the law. Allowing this evidence without a clear standard of proof for ensuring that the person who sent the messages is who they are claiming to be could set a dangerous precedent.

Our digital lives have become just as important as the one that exists outside of cyberspace. In 201o, nearly one billion people filed their taxes electronically ( and filing for government student financial aid is done primarily online as well. This comprises only a small fraction of the integral parts of our lives that is conducted online. One option to ensure online responsibility is for laws to be put on the books that hold people accountable for things that are posted and chats conducted on any website, whether it be that of the IRS, FaceBook, or MySpace, meaning that the user would be responsible for protecting their online identity. Should it be so easy to fill out an application for a website with a fake email address or made up name? Another option is for websites to implement more security measures. This could end up making some websites cumbersome to navigate and as we all know convenience is key.

I believe that paramount to the First Amendment’s freedom of speech is the right to speak anonymously on the internet, in print, in person, in what ever forum. However, that right is not absolute.  I would love to hear a sound off of what people think should be the bounds of the law with regards to being able to hold someone accountable for their online activity. Take into consideration as well the age of cyber-bullying that is upon us. Should school age children be held responsible for the hurtful things they post online? Consider also the case recently decided in New Jersey, Too Much Media LLC v. Hale, where a blogger was made to reveal her sources after making ” defamatory Internet posting about a Freehold software company”. (New Jersey Law Journal, Vol. 204 NO. 11, 1). What if this woman had posted anonymously?

As the old saying goes “anything you say can be held against you in a court of law”. The law is slow to catch up with technology but it is only a matter of time, just look at the leeway we’ve afforded the national government with the cleverly named P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. You’ve got the green light, sound off and feel free to weigh in on the issue or any opinions that have been expressed.

Be careful what you say, type, text etc. . .