First Generation Success Story: When Life Gets In The Way

   I want to address a very important topic that doesn’t always seem to correlate with law school: life. Despite popular belief, life continues on even when you enter law school. Your personal life does not cease to exist outside of the law school. People grow, things change, and life-altering events still happen. However, as a law student, you are stuck inside the four walls of your school just trying to survive each week. It is very easy to put yourself in a ‘law school bubble’ in which you focus all your time and energy studying (believe me, it is…

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Some Law Schools Now Accepting the GRE for Admission

You have probably heard about the GRE, or the GRE General Test, which is the standardized test used by many graduate schools for admissions. What you may not have known is that at least 27 law schools are currently accepting GRE scores from applicants, in lieu of the Law School Admission Test (“LSAT”), which is offered by the Law School Admission Council (“LSAC”). Of course, these schools also continue to accept LSAT scores from applicants for admission. “The GRE General Test is a valid and reliable tool for informing law schools’ admissions decisions,” said David Payne, Vice President & COO…

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Susan Smith Blakely

In Praise of Lawyer Moms

I am a lawyer/mom.  Although my children are grown now and have become lawyers themselves, the memories of struggles as a lawyer/mom are still very vivid for me --- as well as the joys and the successes.  It is not an easy "row to hoe" as my own mom would have said. So, when I read several articles about another lawyer/mom, including one on Above the Law by Grover Cleveland, author of  Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks, I surely identified with it. I found, however, that my identification with Michelle Travis, the woman lawyer/professor of law/mom in these articles, ran deeper than…

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The 5 Changes That Finally Gave Me Enough Time to Get Everything Done

I never used to have enough time.  I struggled to keep up.  I’m organized, definitely the planning type, but even with those skills, I just couldn’t find the time I needed. This picture is me eight years ago.  Caught off guard…somewhere in Switzerland on “vacation” but not actually disconnected from work.   I don’t look all that relaxed right?  (If you want the full version of this site, embarassing pictures of me included, it's over here.) I was a new-ish attorney, just a few years in.  The “omg I’m done with school and finally a lawyer, and I kind of feel like…

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5 Things to Consider About Potential Clients

Client acquisition is one of the keys to being successful as a lawyer, but be wary of moving too fast. Before bringing on a new client, there are some important things you need to consider. 5 Things to Think About Consultations are part of being a lawyer. If your practice or firm is like most, you offer free or low-cost initial meetings to get to know prospective clients and discuss their options. In these consultations, you’ll want to spend time feeling out the individual across the table. Here are a few specific things to consider: 1. Common Client Questions Once…

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JD Preferred Career Quiz

You know those quizzes in glossy magazines that promise to evaluate your personality and offer a tailored solution to any given problem according to your responses?  Well, this month I've created my very own 'JD Preferred Quiz' to help jumpstart your thinking on which career path suits you best in using your JD degree in a non-traditional way.  Whether you are still in law school but re-thinking the law firm path, or are a post-graduate lawyer thinking of doing something different with your law degree, this quiz can help narrow your frame of reference among the myriad options.  Ideally, your…

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From Paralegal to Associate: Happy Anniversary!

Last week marked exactly a year since I was sworn in as an attorney. I still remember the excitement mixed with the uncertainty of starting my new role as an attorney.  I had worked at the firm for 6 years as a paralegal.  How was I going to adjust?  Will the other attorneys remember that I am now a qualified attorney?  Would I still be treated as the paralegal?  What about the clients? So many questions running through my head, but one thing I knew for sure, was that I could feel the immense pressure on my shoulders.  I had…

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The Right Way To Brand Personal Injury Work, Promoting Without Pushing

The television show Better Call Saul may play on all the most egregious stereotypes of the personal injury lawyers, but isn’t there always some truth behind the stereotype? The fact is, some personal injury lawyers can be aggressive in their marketing tactics, and it’s a red flag that something is amiss, and savvy potential clients know to steer clear. Still, if you’re going to stand out from other personal injury firms, you need to show that you’re different from other firms. You need a strong brand. Establishing Your USP Marketing’s basic premise is that, in order to attract clients, you…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Be Aware of Warning Signs of Instability in Young Lawyers

  The facts shared this week in an open letter from the widow of a Sidley lawyer were shocking and heartbreaking.  The suicide of a 42-year-old partner in the LA office raised many issues of our responsibilities as lawyers to our colleagues. It was discovered too late that this suicide victim suffered from a form of perfectionism that created so much pressure, anxiety and insecurity that the only way out seemed to be to take his own life.  If those facts came as a complete shock to everyone around him, that would give those of us in the profession some relief.  It…

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Why Women Lawyers Should Consider Service on a Public Board or Commission

This week, a historic number of women were elected to Congress and a record number of women ran in and won other races nationwide. If I had to pick a single word to describe this situation, it would be this: awesome. We need more women and diverse voices in government. But what you may not have heard about in the coverage of the recent elections is that the need to increase the representation of women extends to unelected government positions as well.  In particular, women do not make up a fair proportion of the people serving on state and local…

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