From the blog

Join Ms. JD’s Global Education Fund Program!

Interested in women’s issues, international development, fundraising and education?  If yes, consider supporting us as our next part-time, unpaid, Global Education Fund program volunteer!  Ms. JD created the Global Education Fund (“GEF”) to enable women in developing countries who otherwise would not have access to further education pursue a legal education.  Each year, GEF has made it possible for two Ugandan women in each class year to pursue their dreams of becoming lawyers by attending the law program at Makerere University in Uganda. The part-time and unpaid Global Education Fund program volunteer will be responsible for: Helping to lead outreach and program development…

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First Generation Success Story: Orientation and Starting Law School

         My anxiety was relieved and I was accepted into law school. I decided on Wayne State University, sent in my acceptance paperwork and anxiously began waiting for school to begin. To be honest, I was not exactly sure what to expect from orientation or what law school was going to be like. Law school was different than anything I had encountered before. I feel like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, ready for law school but what if I get called on in class and I do not have the answers? Looking back on it, I know…

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Is It A Fit? Finding A Firm That Works For You As A Working Mother

You’ve made it out of law school. You’ve passed the bar. Now, you’re ready to practice – but where? The fact is, as a woman in the legal profession, finding a position where you’ll have opportunities for growth can be a real challenge. The fact is that as a woman, you can get in the door, but, as a study by the American Bar Association demonstrated, women make up 45% of associates in private practice, but only 18% of equity partners. Something is keeping women from successfully climbing the career ladder. Luckily, finding a practice that’s a good fit for…

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Advocacy In The Age Of Addiction: Insights For Layers

As advocates for justice, the current opioid epidemic has put lawyers in a challenging position: is our job to defend patients or drug makers? Is there room to seek justice when the law isn’t oriented towards justice? There are no easy answers. Instead, we’re all required to consider what our position is relative to the law, our clients, and our communities. And what you decide can determine the shape of your career. Addiction Justice And Advocacy For some lawyers, the decision to focus on justice and advocacy work for addicts, rather than to pursue exclusively punitive outcomes, is an easy…

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Careers You Can Pursue With A Law Degree

Achieving a law degree is no small feat. The schooling is difficult and requires you to study hard and work harder. The benefit, however, is that a law degree allows you to pursue nearly any career path you want. Here are a few of the most common careers you can choose from. 1. Law Firms Perhaps the most obvious choice is a law firm. Working as an attorney has its benefits. Not only does it pay great, but you're actually able to utilize the education you received in school. There's a number of different fields within the firm from which…

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Ms. CyberLaw: Justice Kennedy’s Recent Dissent

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27, 2018 after having served since 1987.  During his tenure and in his interpretations of the Constitution, Justice Kennedy was mindful of how quickly our society is developing an ever-increasing reliance on technology and, with it, novel forms of privacy concerns. Here is a quick recap of his most recent dissent in Carpenter v. United States, a case centered on an individual's cellphone data privacy.  The issue rested on whether the government's seizure of an individual's cellphone records constituted an impermissible warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The government obtained the cellphone records in question from the individual's wireless…

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Drive Your Journey: Instagram as a Pathway to Increasing Your Brand Presence

Instagram is a highly visual platform, but it is not limited to the occasional selfie. If used correctly, Instagram can be used strategically to build a professional brand. Instagram has many features that now make it many attorneys’ platform of choice. Like other social media platforms, Instagram is often changing, so you will want to experiment with it. However, as of the date of publication, below are some of the top ways to use Instagram to build a professional brand. Be sure to use your “bio” space to create interest in your page and to link to other content. The…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Top Women Lawyers Tell ALL about Landing Clients

Most of you know by now that developing clients is the road to success in law firms.  Crudely, it has been said that "you eat what you kill."  In other words, if you bring in the work, you will be paid handsomely.   Nothing else comes close to assuring a successful career as a lawyer. That is why there is so much emphasis today on client development and networking.  Concentrating on acquiring the soft skills that are necessary to make you attractive to potential clients is time well spent.  However, soft skills are not taught in law school, and very…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: In a recent Podcast with Christina Martini, you said new lawyers should show enthusiasm. Is “show enthusiasm” code for “work 70 hours a week as a new attorney?” How would you advise a new attorney who is not physically able to put in those hours to demonstrate commitment or worth, or is working long hours the only acceptable method? A: It’s not code. I was referring to attitude rather than revenue. The two are distinct, but can be related. If you show enthusiasm, lawyers are likely to want to invest in your career. They will help you build your…

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Stacy Papadopoulos, Gen. Counsel, American Gaming Association - On the Field: Women in Sports Law

I’m pleased to welcome Stacy Papadopoulos, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Industry Services at the American Gaming Association (AGA). Stacy, a double Hoya, has been at the American Gaming Association since 2014. Prior to the AGA, Stacy worked as a partner at the Potomac Law Group, building her career working both in-house at Freddie Mac’s Corporate Governance Department and the firms of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP and King & Spalding. Welcome, Stacy! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with Ms. JD! I’d like to begin by asking about your background. When you were…

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Lawyering in a Crisis: What Five Puerto Rican Women Did in the Aftermath of a Major Hurricane

Imagine living with no power for 10 months as a result of two major hurricanes and having to prepare for a third one. Or imagine being grateful for having your power back after 6 months but still having a blue tarp for a roof. That was the reality for thousands of Puerto Ricans this week when Beryl, the first hurricane of the season, formed in the Atlantic. I think we can all attest to the gut-wrenching feeling of anticipation the day we were expecting Hurricane María last year. Gazing out the window with my sister at 5:00 am still feels like yesterday,…

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From Paralegal to Associate:  How to Maintain your Enthusiasm

The first few months into the legal profession are a whirlwind of emotions.  You are thrilled to have passed the BAR.  You are finally an attorney.  The pressure of doing a great job are mixed with the enthusiasm you feel for finally doing what took a few years to accomplish.  Then the months pass, and slowly be surely, the rush you get in those first few months dissipate.  The long hours are getting to you.  The mundanity of some of the tasks are getting you bored out of your mind.  How does one stay motivated and enthusiast?  How do you…

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Business Etiquette: The Art of the Telephone

While a lot of today’s business is conducted through email, social media and even texting, the telephone remains a stable medium of transacting business.  The cell phone and smart phone have become critical components for how we work today, and basic rules of etiquette apply to the use of these wireless phones as well as traditional office phones.  Direct conversations are a great way to improve communication and build relationships.  To help you maximize your business and professional relationships on the phone, I’ve outlined a few tips: Placing Business Calls: Many phone calls are either warm (someone you know) or…

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Statistically Weeping: One Intern and Her Imposter Syndrome

There’s one thing that sticks out in my mind the most when I recall my summer internship experiences, particularly the more formal internship I took on between my second and third year of law school. It’s how often I repeated the phrase, “I’m not sure I’m really supposed to be here.” I said it to myself. I said it to my fellow interns. I said it to friends, who were also law students. I even said it to my mom. And though it horrifies me now to admit it, I’m sure I said it in so many words to my…

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The Uniform Bar Exam: An Unclear Hurdle to Licensure

Ask any attorney about his or her bar exam experience and you will get an array of stressful, nerve-racking tales, doubtfully containing any positive tones.  For me, personally, I will never forget the awful experience, including an all-nighter before the second day of the exam.  When you have to memorize black letter law for some 15-plus subjects in order to draft convincing essay answers, there’s just no time for rest.  These experiences, along with some brutal stories revolving around the Socratic Method in law school, are things that bind licensed attorneys together.  It’s awful, but it’s a rite of passage.  And…

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