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Susan Smith Blakely

A Strong Message about Leadership for Women Lawyers

Today I write to you about effective leadership, recognizing that yesterday effective leadership intersected with politics in the American experience.  However, there should be nothing of partisan politics in seeing that experience for what it was:  Killing the messenger. When I speak to audiences of attorneys and law students about effective leadership, as addressed in my book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, one of the concepts that I stress is taking responsibility for your own actions and not killing the messenger.  It is a fundamental theme of effective leadership, as recognized by the most well-respected global…

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bg3orge

Creating Work-Life Balance in the Legal Field

I had the pleasure of speaking with attorney and mother, Elise Buie, last month about achieving balance between work and life while maintaining a law career.  Of the many things that Elise brought to light for me, I think the thing that stuck with me the most is the fact that in terms of providing appropriate accommodations for pregnant or nursing women, we have come so far. I have nursed and pumped in some pretty awful, dirty places. The ferry bathroom is at the top of my list (both in the terminal and on the ferry). But, I have also nursed…

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vatsaleisha

Take Two: The Journey to Retaking the Bar—New Job, New City, New Experiences

In my last post, I discussed tips for finding a job, and I can honestly say that one of those tips got me my job. Referrals. My friend referred me to the Human Resources Director of her employment, and two interviews later, I accepted a job as Recovery Specialist with the company. As a Recovery Specialist, my primary responsibility is recovering money for insurance companies for claims they paid for on behalf of their members. This job entails negotiating on the phone and a high volume of cases. Accepting this position meant I had to move eighty miles to a…

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nicolemoriniere

Fueling the Career Fire: Networking Events as Motivation

Even if you have your dream job, there are some days or weeks when your motivation can falter. Maybe you're distracted with other things going on in your personal life or you have to complete certain tasks that day or week that aren't the tasks you enjoy the most in your job. During these times, I find it helpful to find motivation and inspiration outside of myself and my work. I find one really good way to get inspired again is to attend events on a work-related or work-adjacent topic that I'm interested in, and that will also attract a…

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Delania

Drive Your Journey: The Unexpected Redirection

While changes in one’s life can be intentional, there are times when the unplanned may occur. For example, you may have your heart set on practicing in a certain area of the law and not get hired in the positions to which you initially apply. You may focus on applying to positions in a certain city but get a fitting offer in another city. This may redirect your journey, but the key is to remember that you are on a journey. It does not have to be your final destination and likely will not be. First, remember to embrace where…

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abell

Breaking Down The Competency Gap

“I cannot make a mistake,” said a minority lawyer at a large law firm whom recently shared with me her feelings that she cannot make a mistake out of fear that she will be perceived as incompetent. She referenced a 2014 study conducted by Nextions where partners, male and female of various racial/ethnic backgrounds, participated in a “writing analysis study.” Of the 53 partners who participated, 29 partners were told they were reviewing a legal memo written by a white associate named Thomas Meyer and 24 partners were told they were reviewing the same memo but written by a black…

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mKYCZwhJPG

Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I’m a freshman in High School, and I want to prepare to become an attorney. I have already done a bit of research, but there are still a few questions that I have (below). A: As I mentioned in part one of my response last month, I am impressed that you are preparing early! Here are the answers to your remaining questions: 1.  What are a couple of things I can do to improve my writing skills? First, you are prescient to ask about writing skills. For most lawyers, writing is an essential skill for success. Many law firms…

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greg-antono

Pre-Law Opportunity: National Black Pre-Law Conference (NYC, November 2017)

Hi Ms. JD Pre-Law! Save the date for the 13th Annual National Black Pre-Law Conference: What? The National Black Pre-Law Conference is an information-sharing and networking empowerment event for aspiring Black lawyers. When? 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM EST on Friday, November 10, 2017  Where? New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013 For more information and to register: https://www.facebook.com/NationalBlackPreLawConference https://www.eventbrite.com/e/13th-annual-national-black-pre-law-conference-sponsored-by-accesslex-institute-tickets-32209848524 http://www.blackprelawconference.org/   --- Gregory Antono is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto, majoring in Linguistics and Spanish, and minoring in Latin American Studies. Truth be told, he was roped into volunteering with the Ms. JD Pre-Law Program by his sister. Nevertheless,…

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alexislamb

A Chat with Erin Shinneman - Global Adventurer, Writer, Startup Lawyer

Erin Shinneman sits on a strip of sand, preparing for her dives later that day with her ocean conservation group.  For the past six weeks, she’s been living on an Indonesian island with a population of 170. The WiFi is spotty – she’s about as far east as one can go in Indonesia – but she’s able to log on enough to communicate with her clients effectively.  Shinneman, a startup lawyer and writer who started her career at the law firms of Chadbourne & Parke and Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP., has worked from Barcelona cafes, desert…

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AndrewSimon

In Support Of Flexible Working For Every Stage Of Your Career

When we talk about the glass ceiling, we’re often talking about women struggling to secure those coveted corner offices and seats at the boardroom table. However, there is another glass ceiling that exists in women’s lives, or more accurately, a glass wall. It’s the wall that goes up after a woman decides to do what her biology was designed to do and she has a child. There’s no shortage of stories of women returning to work early because they fear their jobs are at stake, only to find their responsibilities diminished without warning. There’s also, sadly, no shortage of stories…

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