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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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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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Do Yourself a Favor and Get Organized

Time is something you don’t have a lot of these days. You can’t add hours to the day, but you can make more efficient use of the 24 you get. And while there are plenty of ways to maximize your time, one of the most important things you can do is get organized. Tips and Techniques for Getting Organized Some attorneys are notorious for being disorganized – which is rather alarming. You owe it to your clients, your firm, and yourself to stay on top of everything that comes across your desk. A failure to do so could force you…

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Susan Smith Blakely

A Primer for Lawyer/Moms: Just Out and a Must Have

I first met Lori Mihalich-Levin soon after her first baby was born and when she was in the overwhelmed-by-baby-and-the-thought-of-returning-to-work stage.   Our lunches were enjoyable but a bit somber.  She was struggling, and I wanted to help her. Lori and I had been connected by a mutual friend at Georgetown Law.  Although there were many years between my years at the law school and Lori's, we had a lot in common.  Returning to law practice after not just one, but two, babies had been difficult for me, and now that was happening to Lori.  It is hard to know what…

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered…To Jail

What should you expect when you’re arrested? Well, it’s guaranteed to involve a very uncomfortable ride in the back of a police car, and fastened to your wrists will be a pair of shiny silver handcuffs that consistently pinch your skin. Once you reach your destination, you will face detention; this is a time when police officers can hold you until a conclusion can be made on whether you are a suspect or if you had no involvement in their case. This is also a time when you have the right to ask if you are free to go or…

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Laura Bladow

Ms. JD Chats Recap: A Firm of Her Own

April marks the month that most women catch up to their male colleagues' salaries for the prior year. For this year's equal pay day, Ms. JD talked to women who have not only achieved equal pay, they are running their own firms as part of doing so. Moderated by Ms. JD Board Emeritus, Janet Wallace, if you have ever dreamed of launching your own firm, you will not want to miss this conversation with Amanda Green Alexander! Watch below to learn more about the path to firm leadership and practical advice for hanging out your own shingle. Thank you to the Commission…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Solutions for the Low Retention Rates for Law Firm Associates

The subject of the low retention rates for women lawyers, as published recently on, was addressed in last week's blog.  What?  You did not read the last blog?   Shame, shame.  I write them so that you will read them and have a "leg up" in making career decisions.  Fortunately, former blogs are so easy to find on my web site.  But to help you out, here is the link to that blog.  I understand how busy you are. The solutions offered by the article focus on the needs to run law firms more like traditional businesses to eliminate…

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How Millennials Are Changing The Legal Field

The question of whether the culture in America shapes new generations, or whether the generations themselves shape cultural shifts, brings about a chicken-and-egg scenario that is likely a discussion too large for this piece. What we do know, however, is that each new generation brings something different to the workforce, and also demands changes to the status quo. This is a good thing, as it keeps industries from being stagnant, and the field of law is one that needs to remain static to keep up with the times. There is absolutely no doubt that a shift is already happening: millennials…

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Join the Conversation:  Questions to Ask Speakers on Diversity Panels

“So he had said ‘always,’ so she would not have to be afraid of the change – the falling away of skin, the drip and slide of blood, and the exposure of bone underneath.  He had said ‘always’ to convince her, assure her, of permanency.” – Toni Morrison, Sula This past weekend, I sat through a series of diversity panels.  They featured leaders of law firm diversity efforts including partners, counsel, and managing partners.  The panels showcased the firms' and the individual leaders' commitment to diversity.  During the panels, I learned that supervisors judge work product of black associates more harshly and critically than work product…

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Ms. JD Pre-Law: Interview with Lisa Rohrer, Senior Advisor at Fairfax Associates

Our guest today is Dr. Lisa Haueisen Rohrer, Senior Advisor at Fairfax Associates, a strategy consulting firm focused on the legal market. Prior to this role, Lisa was Executive Director of the Case Development Initiative at Harvard Law School. She was also Director of Executive Education and Research Director at the Georgetown University Law Center. Lisa has a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Harvard Business School, a master's degree from Harvard University and a BA from Wellesley College.     Hi Lisa, thanks for speaking with the Ms. JD Pre-Law blog today! To start off, can you briefly tell our…

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