Susan Smith Blakely

Advice for Millennial Lawyers (including Women Lawyers!)

Earlier today I was the presenter on a webinar for Thompson Reuters/West on "What Millennial Lawyers Want."  It was a 65-minute program and contained a lot of good information on millennial lawyers, how their behaviors and expectations have developed, the responsibility that parent generations and society have in influencing that development, the values that are common to millennial lawyers and Greatest Generation lawyers, and the roles of millennial lawyers and law firm leaders in a shared solution to the Generational Divide.

Admittedly, that is a lot of content, but it was a long program!  That is how CLE works --- you put in the time, and you get the credit.  Unless you are trying to get CLE credit in NY, and then you need a special code --- because it is NY, right? --- and I made sure I repeated that code twice!  Only in NY!

The makeup of the audience is not information that is shared with presenters prior to the program, so I have no way of knowing if any of you were listening.  But, if you were, I hope you enjoyed it.

Here is a sampling of program content on the topic of what millennial lawyers can do as their partof the shared solution:

  • Be realistic in your expectations and less sensitive to criticism;
  • Overcome your need for constant attention;
  • Get off social media and concentrate on becoming the best lawyer you can be;
  • Become more confident about your choices and decision-making --- in other words, don't take a vote before you take action;
  • Get out of your comfort zones and take on challenges and risks to advance your career and your team;
  • Understand that you do not have all the answers and LISTEN to the wisdom of lawyers who have been in the trenches for more than your lifetime;
  • Dialogue with respect at all times; and
  • Have PATIENCE.  The profession of law is inherently deliberative and slow moving most of the time.  It is no place for expectations of instant gratification.

This list may have you feeling like you are being singled out for bad behavior.  Not so!  You should see the TO DO list that I presented to law firm leaders to become responsive to the values of Millennial Lawyers and safeguard talent.

If true leaders emerge, it will result in a remodeling of law firm cultures.  And it is about time for that!

 

Susan Smith Blakely is the Founder of LegalPerspectives LLC and an award-winning, nationally-recognized author, speaker and consultant on issues related to young women lawyers, young women law students and young women interested in careers in the law.  She is author of Best Friends at the Bar:  What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2009), and Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today's Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012), which addresses the work-life struggle for women lawyers and includes twelve profiles of women who have successfully transitioned from one practice setting to another.  Her third book in the series, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, focuses on the responsibilities of law firm leaders and was released by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business in 2015.

 Ms. Blakely’s new book for ALL young lawyers, What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice, will be released by Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers in the summer of 2018.

 Ms. Blakely frequently speaks at colleges and universities, law schools, law firms and law organizations, and she has been featured in media including Corporate Counsel Magazine, the ABA Journal, the LA Daily Journal, National Jurist, Washington Examiner Newspaper, Forbes Woman, Women Lawyers Journal (NAWL), DC Spotlight, Lawyerist.com, Daily Muse, Lawyer and Statesman, Law.com, Georgetown Law Magazine, Legal Toolkit Podcast, and Huffington Post Business.  Ms. Blakely also is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at conferences on women's issues in business and the law profession, and she has been a featured speaker at the US Department of Justice, Civil Division.  She is the recipient of the Ms. JD 2015 "Sharing Her Passion Award" and the Lawyer Monthly “Women in Law Award 2016”for her work on behalf of women in the law. 

 Ms. Blakely graduated from the University of Wisconsin with distinction and from Georgetown University Law Center where she was a teaching fellow. She is a member of the CoachSource global network of leadership coaches and is certified as a career coach for the Indiana University Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy.   For more information, please visit www.bestfriendsatthebar.com. 

 

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