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How Introspection Can Make You a Better Lawyer

When you’re a lawyer, you typically spend most of your time considering and addressing other people’s problems. That’s what they hire you to do, after all. But if you don’t ever take the time to peer inside yourself and become more aware of who you are, you’re doing yourself -- and by extension, your clients -- a disservice. Five Benefits of Professional Introspection Introspection doesn’t come naturally in the legal profession. It’s your job to care and worry about other people, and attorneys often neglect their own personal needs for days or weeks at a time. Once you develop a…

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Susan Smith Blakely

True Grit for Women Lawyers

I started talking about the importance of “True Grit” for women lawyers as long ago as 2012 when my second book came out.  In Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business), I included a chapter titled “You Really Need True Grit,” and in 2014 I wrote more on the subject in a blog addressing the value of true grit for women lawyers. So, you can imagine how happy I was to see that the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession is taking grit very seriously as well.  According to a recent article in the ABA Journal,…

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Ms. JD Fellowship Project: Legal Technology for Access to Justice (event and live-stream)

**UPDATE** February 22, 2017 -- Missed the live-stream of #MSULawLT4A2J? Here's the recording of the event. In August 2016, I was selected as 2016 Ms. JD Fellow. I applied with the hopes of establishing a platform to promote women, especially women of color, to enter the legal technology field. As my fellowship project for Ms. JD, I am hosting an access to justice panel focused on using legal technology to help marginalized and low-income individuals on a large scale. The event will be live at MSU College of Law's campus but I will also be live-streaming the event. Here is the Facebook page and the…

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Join the Conversation:  What if Alienation is Not a Universal Feeling?

It was neither preaching nor praying that made a better person of me, but one or two people who believed in me better than I deserved, and I hated to disappoint them.  I recently went to a holiday party where two white male law firm partners were asking each other why we see so many female associates leave big law starting around their fifth year and what firms can do to keep them.  They were concerned that women leave for reasons beyond the firms’ control, such as appealing in-house positions or to devote more time to parenthood.  I told them…

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Drive Your Journey: Driving in a New Direction

You are cruising along a path when you get to an intersection. At the intersection, you have the option to continue straight, take a left, or take a right. Path #1 will bring you exactly where you planned to go. It is a predictable path that many have driven. Path #2 may be a shortcut to the same destination as Path #1, but it is likely a tougher path. Path #3 will bring you on an entirely different journey with a different destination. Life is filled with decision-making moments. When it comes to choosing a path to take for your…

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Failure Turned Inside Out: The Path Most Traveled, Usually Isn’t Mine

Name: Camille Stewart Professional Title: Exiting Senior Policy Advisor for Cyber, Infrastructure & Resilience at the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration Law School: American University Washington College of Law  Years Practicing Law: 6 Years Sector: Government Specialization: Policy, Cyber, and Intellectual Property Extra Tid Bit: “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” –M. Scott…

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Removing Legal Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment: UN Global Compact Spotlights Partnership

Few people within the United Nations (UN) system talk about the impact in 1982 when USA President Ronald Reagan pulled the economic plug on USA international relations by withdrawing funding from key international organizations within the UN System. The move was based upon the administration's political agenda, fully within the scope of powers of the USA Executive Branch, despite underlying treaty provisions. The move had three impacts: First, withdrawl of funds threatened to have a dominio effect, with large funders withdrawing their funding too. This never actually happened however, because of a second impact: small rich nations such as the…

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Getting from A to B: Transitioning from Law to Tech

It took me about three months to complete my transition from law into legal tech, from the time I made the decision until I found and was hired at an exciting legal tech startup. During this time, I reached out to my network, did a lot of reading and attended numerous events.  Although I benefited from many resources during my search, I also found it more difficult given that I was going down a non-traditional career path for JDs. Hopefully, my experience can help provide an example of one way to transition from the traditional legal industry to a career in legal…

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The Road Less Traveled: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

Many entrepreneurs go through The Darkness - eating instant ramen, crashing in their parents' basement, remortgaging their house, fearing monthly cable bills or paying rent  -- before The Big Success Break, as do many who seek a transition to an alt-path.   While not all alternative legal careers involve entrepreneurship (though in later blog posts we'll speak with lawyers turned entrepreneurs), when it comes to our careers, we are our own entrepreneurs.  We are companies of one.  We are selling our labor and skills and that unique bit of ourselves that only we can offer.  We are convincing others to invest time, money, capital, and goodwill…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I am involved in a negotiation with an abusive opposing counsel. He tries to embarrass me in front of my client and says I don’t know what I am talking about. I am concerned about raising this with my supervising attorney, because he may think I am over my head. Any suggestions? A: Ah. Civility. Depending on your personality, the rough and tumble of law practice can be one of its less appealing aspects. But sometimes the job involves taking a bullet for your client. Usually, the best course of action involves keeping a laser focus on your client’s…

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