By Susan Smith Blakely • October 11, 2018•Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
I am a lawyer/mom. Although my children are grown now and have become lawyers themselves, the memories of struggles as a lawyer/mom are still very vivid for me --- as well as the joys and the successes. It is not an easy "row to hoe" as my own mom would have said.
So, when I read several articles about another lawyer/mom, including one on Above the Law by Grover Cleveland, author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks, I surely identified with it.
I found, however, that my identification with Michelle Travis, the woman lawyer/professor of law/mom in these articles, ran deeper than just the lawyer/mom experiences. I also found that our struggles with the dual roles of lawyer and mom led both of us to write about the issues. She, a writer of a children's book titled My Mom Has Two Jobs, and me, a writer of books for young lawyers. Most of you know about my books, but what you probably do not know about me is that I started out by writing children's stories to help my own children face the typical childhood fears associated with coming of age. Those stories found their way to manuscripts until I got sidetracked with Best Friends at the Bar. Maybe one day I will go back to them.
I think when I wrote those children's stories, I also was facing my own fears about failing my children. How could I spend significant time away from them most days without paying too high a price for it? How could I take my focus off my children and onto my own professional aspirations, even part-time, without sacrificing their well-being? Why did I need that? One of the answers was to write stories for them that demonstrated how much I thought about them and how important they were to me.
Most working moms have these same questions about the choices they make, and most of the lawyer/moms in my generation would have loved a book to help our children understand how we could love them and love our jobs at the same time. Fortunately for you, this book has now been written for you to share with your own children.
Equally as important is the advice and information that Michelle Travis provides in her interviews about this book. Advice about how parents bring the same love, passion and dedication to both their parenting jobs and their professional jobs. Advice about the importance of children seeing their parents work to make life better for others outside their own families. Information about research demonstrating that children of working mothers do not suffer and, in fact, flourish from experiencing the dual roles of their moms. Information about how strong the daughters of working moms become and how the sons of working moms have positive interpersonal experiences in their own lives because of the example provided by mom.
Important stuff. Check it out here.
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, 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