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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Susan Smith Blakely

Leadership 101 For Women Lawyers

We all are -- or we should be – thinking a lot about leadership these days. This is an important week as we witness the peaceful transfer of power from one national leader to another here in the United States of America. It is what distinguishes our democracy, and it should not be missed, even if your candidate is not being sworn in. I will be doing my part for the inauguration by participating in a leadership program that, every four years, brings college students to DC to witness the inauguration and hear from leaders in a variety of career…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Pay Equity For Women Lawyers

Pay equity for women lawyers is a subject that you definitely should care about.  I have blogged about it before, but now I have written about it in a comprehensive article published recently by the DC Women's Bar Association.  This article also makes the nexus between implicit gender bias and unequal pay for women lawyers, a connection that must be taken seriously. Here is a link to the article:  http:  www.wbadc.org//Files/Newsletters/2016-2017/WBA_RTB_2016-2017_Issue4_NovDec.pdf. Here is how I introduce the issue: One of the tenets of my Best Friends at the Bar program for women lawyers is “Be a discriminating listener, but do…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Happy New Year, Women Lawyers!

Happy New Year! I am back from my December hiatus and ready to embrace all new opportunities for the new year.  I hope you are in a similar frame of mind. Being a bit of a dreamer and having an open mind and a positive outlook for the future can be very helpful to your career development.  In fact, I could argue that those attributes are essential to positive career growth. If you are a maker of New Year's resolutions — and I know that some of you are — you might want to think outside the box this year…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Would Mandatory Paid Childcare Leave Make US #1?

I discovered two things today --- seemingly independent but connected, I think.  These things are important for all women, those with children and those who love the children of others, and they are important to me. First of all, I read that the United States of America comes in fourth in terms of being the most desirable country to live on earth.  The first three positions were awarded to Germany, the UK and Canada.  Not bad to be in fourth place, but first place is better.  However, this probably was predictable because the subject of the survey was "quality of…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What Last Week’s Election Means for Women

I don't know what your politics are, and I really don't care.  You don't know my politics either, and we will keep it that way.  My parents taught me not to talk about religion, politics or sex in polite conversation, and I try to remember it. However, politics does not have to be part of the discussion about yesterday's election for the next President of the United States.  There were other issues at stake.  The election results were disappointing for some who were hoping to usher in the first woman president in the history of our country.  They wanted to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers From Elite Law Schools Leave Practice Sooner—- Why?

Last month, Above the Law ran an article, "Stat Of The Week:  The Mysterious 'Elite Retreat' Of Women in Law," which got my attention.  The premise of the article was that the "conventional wisdom" that women lawyers leave Big Law after just a "couple of years" because of work-life challenges is flawed.  Citing research from ALM Intelligence (the same group that recently supported the Major Lindsey Africa study and findings that women law partners earn 44% less than male law partners), Above the Law reported that the timing of departures is more variable and that the proportion of women in…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Supporting Women—- Women Lawyers Should Follow the White House Lead

As women lawyers, you know the drill, and so do the women of the White House.  Female White House staffers and women lawyers (who often also are White House staffers) have a lot in common when it comes to grueling hours, hyper-aggressive colleagues, and lack of access to the boss ---- which all can have an adverse impact on the retention and advancement of women in the workplace.  It is very challenging, but the women at the White House have discovered an effective approach that you need to know about. In a recent article in the Washington Post, the subject…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Become Your Own Hero—- Or Heroine For You Women Lawyers!

Did you have a super hero growing up?  I can remember the Marvel Comic Book superheroes as if it was yesterday.  For the younger among you,  GI Joe and Wonder Woman might have been your heroes, and there were many others --- something for everyone.  We admired these characters for their strength and bravery and compassionate and independent behavior.  They made us think that we could be like them --- if only a little bit.  We liked to be on the side of the super hero or super heroine because it was usually the just and right place to be. …

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Susan Smith Blakely

Lawyers and Stress:  What All Lawyers—- including Women Lawyers—- Need To Know

Recently I wrote an article for Corporate Counsel magazine and its on-line blog which addressed, among several topics, the toxic cultures of law firms.  Here is some of what I said there: The truth is that we don't do the profession of law very well in America.  We ignore the lifestyles and well-being of practitioners.  The law firm culture encourages workaholic behaviors that lead to stress-related illnesses and dependencies, as confirmed by research demonstrating that lawyers suffer from alcoholism and illegal drug use at rates far higher than nonlawyers.  Divorce rates among lawyers, especially women, also appear to be higher…

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