Susan Smith Blakely

Career Tips for Women Lawyers

Recently I attended the Georgetown Women's Forum, which expanded the Georgetown Law Women's Forum to Georgetown University graduates in celebration of the 25th year of the Forum.  As in years past, the program was inspiring.  Having attended the Forum for many years and also participated as a panelist, I take great pride in the quality of the programs.

From the welcome by Savannah Guthrie, a Georgetown Law graduate, to the keynote address by Sally Yates, who briefly joined the Georgetown Law faculty after departing the Justice Department last year, to the final moments of dedication to careers, the program was filled with helpful and hopeful messages for women in law and business.

Here is some career advice from that program:

  • Having a career plan is important, but you also must be willing to take risks to capitalize on opportunities that may not be anticipated by your plan;
  • Being a good team member is essential.  Work hard to make your fellow team members look good;
  • Be who your are by staying true to your values.  If your work environment challenges who you are, don't be afraid to make a change;
  • Networking is just like making friends.  Being curious about what others do makes it easier.  Showing your commitment to a group or cause goes a long way toward making strong connections;
  • Ask for what you want;
  • Ask for feedback.  It is the way you grow;
  • Men are still in control of most law firms and large businesses.  You must engage them on change to achieve change;
  • Stop thinking about childcare as a women's issue.  Make it a non-gender issue to achieve the progress we need;
  • The only real work-life balance is to give everythingto work while you are there and everythingto home while you are there --- at least until the kids are in bed!;
  • Strive to become a good leader by emphasizing relationship building;
  • Create your brand and market it; and
  • Support women colleagues.

Now get busy!  See how much of that advice you can incorporate into your professional life and your career plan. And, if you are a Georgetown University or Georgetown Law graduate, be sure to sign up for next year's program.

See you there!

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