Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I need to start paying more attention to business development. But it’s very hard to keep up with that when I am really busy. And it’s not my favorite thing to do anyway. Are there things I can do to “force” myself to be more consistent about business development? A: It’s always easiest – and often essential – to do urgent things first. But as you realize, there can be a cost to letting business development languish. Here are some tips that may help: Set modest goals. Particularly if you are busy, it may be easier for you to…

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How I Got Over My Fear of Asking for Things for Me: I Treated Myself Like My Own Client

In my practice, I routinely ask for—nay demand—things on behalf of my clients without a second thought: produce the documents, dismiss the complaint, find in my client’s favor, etc. But, when it was time for me to take a step forward in my own career, I was startled to see how hard it was to ask for things for me. To be honest, it felt downright unnatural. This had always been a problem for me. I remember as a kid getting jealous when my mom came home from the store with a purchase for my sister. With rather sage advice…

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Business Etiquette: Dining

Yes, it really is almost Thanksgiving!  As I think about the holiday season, I am excited to attend parties, client lunches and dinners with coworkers.  Lately, my lunch has been a sandwich at my desk or hot dogs at the ball park, so I definitely need a refresher on proper dining etiquette as the holiday season begins. Emily Post says “All the rules of table manners are made to avoid ugliness.  To let anyone see what you have in your mouth is repulsive, to make a noise is to suggest an animal, to make a mess is disgusting.”   Let’s be…

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Breaking The Mold As A Woman In Male-Led Legal Specialties

Despite the growing number of women attending and completing law school, most women in the profession are familiar with the experience of being the only woman in a room full of men. In some specialties, however, this is the case more often than not, a result of self-segregation and because male clients hold male lawyers in higher regard. As such, when the client base is overwhelmingly male, such as in corporate law, sports law, and construction and industrial law, women lawyers are firmly in the minority. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your mark. If you want to succeed…

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Sandra Day O’Connor: Jurist, Pioneer, and Lawyer Interrupted

With the news coming last week that Sandra Day O'Connor is stepping away from public life, much has been written about her brilliant legal mind, her momentous career on the Supreme Court, and her robust life following retirement from the Court, including founding of the group, iCivics, which promotes civic education in schools through free, educational online games. Not surprisingly, much of the focus has been on O'Connor's pioneering legacy as the first woman Supreme Court Justice. Suprisingly, however, little has been made of the fact that she is nearly the last Supreme Court Justice mom.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, known affectionately to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

LSAT Haters:  Listen Up!

Everyone hates the LSAT, and that is the way we like it.  Hating people is not good --- in fact it is very, very bad --- but hating tests is OK.  So many former LSAT takers are very happy hating this ridiculous test (which only predicts success in the first semester of law school), and we want our bad memories left in tact. But, now we are told that the LSAT has a benefit beyond giving some people an edge toward law school acceptance.  The benefit approach is just plain not fair or productive in the hating process. Here's the scoop. …

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An Interview with Small Business Owner and Real Estate Side Hustler, Marni Blank

I’ve devoted the past few months to various thought pieces on career planning for non-practicing JDs and even put together a quiz to figure out the best ‘JD Preferred’ path for you.  Now it’s time to get back into the swing of things by interviewing real people with real jobs.  When I first started this blog, I didn’t realize what The Ultimate JD Preferred Job would be (or if there is such a thing).  But after conducting this month’s interview it dawned on me – and seems obvious even in hindsight – that being a small business owner is the ultimate JD Preferred…

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Uncomfortable Still Counts

On Facebook recently, I did a live video talking about this weird issue I see where when we tackle something tough, but we’re uncomfortable or nervous doing it, we feel like it doesn’t count. Let’s say you have a difficult conversation you need to have with someone at work, or maybe you’re negotiating your compensation, or giving a presentation, and you’re nervous about it. Then you do it. And you’re nervous and uncomfortable the whole time. But you did it. This strange thing happens where, even though we did it, because we didn’t feel comfortable doing it, it seems like it…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: The networking events that are part of new associate orientation seem awkward. Conversations lag or they will go on forever – or I won't have anything in common with the other person. It's tedious and draining. What can I do? A: Becoming a hermit is probably not an option. As you seem to recognize, you have to try to make the events more palatable. And remember that things get better. Just with the passage of time, you will build relationships and develop friendships and much of the awkwardness will fade. In a few months when you are billing lots…

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National Survey on the Value of Diversity

A nationwide Valuing Diversity Survey is being conducted by the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession’s (IILP) Social Impact Incubator to gain information about how various legal professionals value diversity and inclusion work. The IILP Social Impact Incubator is gathering anonymous data from a wide cross section of attorneys regarding their experiences with diversity and inclusion programs, committees, and other related activities in the profession. Just as diversity and inclusion related activities vary among firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and other legal industry employers, the importance of participation and the value of the time invested on those activities…

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