Susan Smith Blakely

Georgetown Law Women’s Forum Great AGAIN!

If you follow my blogs, you know that I am a very enthusiastic attendee and occasional participant at the Georgetown Law Women's Forum.  Yes, I am a "Hoya Loya," as I sometimes refer to my fellow Georgetown Law grads, but that is not the entire story when it comes to my loyalty to the Women's Forum.

This annual event, first held in 1998, was the brainchild of some women at Georgetown Law who were prescient in recognizing the need to address the challenges facing women lawyers and in highlighting the remarkable work that women lawyers are doing to enhance the profession.  Some of those same women are still involved in the event, and they work just as hard today to make the event relevant, educational and uplifting.  Bravo to them --- and they know who they are!

This year's Forum was held on March 4, 2016, and, of course, I was there.  The opening remarks by the Vice Dean of the Law Center were inspiring, and the panel topics were intriguing.  Both cybersecurity and international arbitration are not topics du jour in my household or even my professional conversations, and I always am interested in expanding my horizons.  I learned that the field of cybersecurity is very complicated, from both the perspectives of general counsel and the outside counsel who support them, and that this relatively new field presents great opportunities for women lawyers.  I also learned that international arbitration is a kind of "natural" setting for women lawyers, and it made me wish I had paid a little more attention to the subject in the past.  Problem solving and alternative dispute resolution always has interested me, and the international travel and living abroad opportunities are the kind of business perks I like!

There also is another dimension to the Women's Forum that I always enjoy.  The lunch is tasty, yes, but I am referring to the awards conferred on women Georgetown Law graduates who have contributed significantly to the law school and the profession.  I particularly like to hear the acceptance speeches, which give me a window into the passion and the purpose of these remarkable women.  This year's recipients, were no exception.  Juliette Pryor, executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer for US Foods, and Chang Oh Turkmani, managing director of the Mega Company, both had fascinating stories to tell and perspectives to share on the role of women in our profession.

Stay tuned here, and I will alert you in time to attend next year's Georgetown Law Women's Forum.  You do not have to be a Georgetown Law graduate to enjoy this inspiring day.  It is a remarkable networking opportunity, and I guarantee that you will enjoy it.

I will look for you there next year!

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 new book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, will focus on the responsibilities of law firm leaders and will be released by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business in 2015.

Ms. Blakely frequently speaks at colleges and universities, law schools, law firms and law organizations, and she has been featured in media including the LA Daily Journal, National Jurist, Washington Examiner Newspaper, Forbes Woman, DC Spotlight, Daily Muse and Huffington Post Business.  Ms. Blakely also is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at conferences on women's issues 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" 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 a career coach for the Indiana University Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy.   For more information, please visit

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