Susan Smith Blakely

Best Friends at the Bar: Young Aspiring Lawyers Meet and Learn about Careers in the Law

This week I am busy working on a presentation for young women college student leaders from across the country.  The National Conference for College Women Student Leaders is  being held this week at the the University of Maryland in College Park.  This conference is a great opportunity for young women to gain information and background on a variety of career options and to have one-on-one discussions with women in those fields and ask important questions about careers of interest to them.

It will be my pleasure to speak to these young women.  Most of my speaking events are at law schools, law firms and law organizations, and I am looking forward to being a sounding board for these young women at such an important time in their decision-making.  I assume that they are expecting to learn a lot from me about how to overcome the challenges of law practice for women, but I, also, am expecting to learn a lot from them.  I will be interested to know what has piqued their curiosity about a law career and how well their colleges and universities have responded to their interest.  Although some pre-law programs at the college level are excellent, there are too few of them, and I hope that these young women will become inspired and go back to their own schools to encourage more dialogue and information sharing at that critical stage of education.

I also am looking forward to getting to know a little about these student leaders.  Leadership is a demanding endeavor, and each one of these young women has distinguished herself in one way or another through leadership.  You may recall my recent blog on women as world leaders  (March 27, 2012), which you will find in the blog archives on my web site, and I remind you of it again here.  Women are uniquely suited to addressing critical international issues and multinational and multicultural situations, and hopefully some of the young women leaders I meet on Friday will fill these important roles in the future.  As the blog and the underlying sources point out, there are alternatives to aggression and war, and women have proven to be very effective problem solvers and negotiators in these challenging settings.  Many of the most effective world leaders today are women, so it is my hope to inspire some of these young women college leaders to pursue a legal education and use it as an effective leadership tool in the international community and in so many other settings where lawyers can make lasting and positive differences.

So, congratulations to all of the young women who have come to the University of Maryland this week to enhance their leadership skills and explore the options for their futures.  They also will be hearing from Lily Ledbetter as the keynote speaker on Friday, and you may recall my recent blog on the pay equity issues that affect women (May 24, 2012) that Lily Ledbetter will be addressing.

If you are an attendee at this conference, I encourage you to come to my program tomorrow afternoon, Friday, June 1st, and introduce yourself to me.  It will be my pleasure to get to know you!

This entry originally appeared on my web site blog at

Susan Smith Blakely is a nationally-recognized author, speaker and consultant on issues related to young women lawyers and law students.  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 her second book on the work-life struggle for women lawyers will be released by Aspen Publishers in 2012.  She is the Principal and Founder of LegalPerspectives LLC, the umbrella entity for her writing, speaking and consulting.  Ms. Blakely frequently speaks at law schools, law firms and law organizations, and she has been featured in media including the LA Daily Journal, National Jurist and Georgetown Law.  For more information, please visit

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