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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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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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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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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 Law.com, 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 Law.com article focus on the needs to run law firms more like traditional businesses to eliminate…

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tammyzhu

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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gennieantono

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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Susan Smith Blakely

Why Women Lawyers Leave Firms:  Astonishing New Statistics

Why do women lawyers leave? I have been pondering, speaking about and writing about this issue for a decade.  It is fundamental that, before we can try to fix our profession with solutions like lateral hiring, mergers and expanding into new markets, we must delve deep into the roots of the attrition problems. For years it was hard to get law firm management to talk about the high rates of attrition for women lawyers.  For many of those years, new law graduates were plentiful, and it was a buyers' market.  That all changed with the Great Recession and the fall…

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