Ms. Pre-JD: Becoming a Frequent-Applier

Around this time in the year is when, as a pre-law student, I really start feeling the pressure. If you don’t know why this is, I imagine you haven’t delved headfirst into the pre-law internship search yet! The excitement at seeing a posting, even an unpaid one, from a major law firm is always tempered five minutes later with irritation at the words “Marketing Intern”, or “Accounting Intern”. Even so, I do have a list of places that I usually try when on the hunt for an internship. While you are probably not going to get paid (in money) for the…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers:  Get the Raise You Want!

Last week I wrote about why women should not have to ask --- for raises and other things they want in their professional lives --- any more than men have to ask.   But, as we saw, the truth is that women do have to ask, and they need to know how to ask smartly and effectively. For some of the best advice on this subject, I always look to Sallie Krawchek, one of the most accomplished women on and off Wall Street and one of the best mentors for women professionals.  She recently posted some salary negotiations advice on…

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Insecure at Work: Being Authentically You Without “Switching It Up”

A friend of mine introduced me to the HBO hit Insecure and it became my Sunday guilty pleasure. For those who have not seen it, Issa Rae stars as Issa, a black woman who works at a non-profit and spends most of the season re-evaluating her career and love life. Her best friend Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, is a black woman navigating Biglaw who is also struggling in the dating world. In one scene, Molly’s law firm partner approaches her about talking to the new summer associate who is an outspoken black woman named Rasheeda. The more seasoned lawyers…

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Ms. JD Pre-Law: Interview with Ani Torossian, Ms. JD Pre-Law Program Director 2015-2017

Today’s interview is with Ani Torossian, who served as Ms. JD’s Pre-Law Program Director from 2015-2017. Ani is currently a 1L at the Pepperdine University School of Law, and is a graduate of both Columbia University and UCLA. She previously interned at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, CNN and the Foreign Policy Association. Welcome, Ani! We'll start with a bit of a silly question. You're currently a 1L at Pepperdine University School of Law, in gorgeous Malibu, California. Have you managed to spend any time at the beach at all, or has the notorious 1L year mostly kept you…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: Are there lessons for new lawyers from the recent Academy Awards “Envelopegate” snafu involving PwC? A: Oh yes. The more obvious lessons are that even with straightforward assignments, the consequences of mistakes can be huge and “do-overs” may not be possible. I discuss these and other lessons below. “Envelopegate” is the moniker many media outlets have given to the Best Picture snafu at the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26, 2017. To set the stage (for the approximately zero percent of readers who have not had any Internet or other news access in the past week), a…

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NYC Bar “Launching Your Career” Week 1: Orientation and Fireside Chat

This week, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the New York City Bar Association's Launching Your Career seminar series, chaired by the wonderful Van Ann Bui (Director, Law Program at SEO; former Proskauer associate). The series comprises of 5 professional development workshops targeted at pre-law undergraduates and recent graduates, on topics including: networking, finding a mentor, office etiquette, interviewing, and more. At this week's kick-off workshop, hosted at Hogan Lovells, the pre-law audience had the opportunity to hear from Jasmine Wade (Assistant District Attorney, Bronx County District Attorney's Office) and Karume James (Staff Attorney, The Bronx Defenders). Tahir Boykins…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Why Should Women Lawyers Have to Ask?

Two things converged for me in the last week, as they rarely do.  For starters, I have been writing a speech on women lawyers as effective negotiators for a conference of health care lawyers later this month.  In that speech, which focuses on the fact that women lawyers can be very effective negotiators on behalf of others but are not so effective in negotiations for themselves, I discuss some of the profound reasons for this disparity, which are cemented in cultural, societal and gender-based learned behaviors.  I have developed this particular presentation as part of the Best Friends at the…

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The Job Search: Bruised Ego and Alternative Career Options

My current job as an Organizer is a limited term duration position. I have been creative in my job application approach – applying for state and local government positions and several non-profit organization positions.  For example, in December, one week after having my baby, I submitted a legal fellowship application. I submitted two fellowship applications in January and several Executive Director positions with local non-profits.  Further, I will be applying for grants and attend training on leadership development and building. In addition, as it is legislative session in Oregon, I have been attending various lobby day gatherings and meeting with…

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Tips for Feeling Your Best Self as a First Year Law Student

Starting law school is an exciting and important step in the direction of your blossoming legal career.  Setting yourself a solid legal foundation is crucial for further success and accomplishments in this field. While class prep, outlining, and your legal research & writing (LRW) course will take up most of your time your first year, below are a few tips for how you can stay healthy, happy, and keep a positive mindset! 1. Save money by bringing your lunch, snacks, and even instant coffee to school with you. It might sound silly but when you crunch the numbers of your daily visit…

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Monthly Mantra: Finding Health and Wellness in the Law

Mantra: My thoughts and actions control the flow of success, positivity and abundance into my life.  It’s March and the St. Patrick’s Day decorations serve as constant reminders of luck and good fortune.  This month begs the question are some just born lucky, or can we actually control our own luck?  The good news is, our actions contribute significantly to what we attract into our lives.  The law of attraction supports the notion that positive thinking often leads to favorable results.  Although as legal professionals, our minds are trained to predict all reasonable outcomes, it takes just as much energy…

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