Susan Smith Blakely

International Podcast Features Susan Smith Blakely

There is a lot of podcast and webcast activity at Best Friends at the Bar these days.  In addition to the PLI webcast that I am doing on March 30th for over 150 participants (with CLE credits available), I recently had the pleasure of taping an international podcast with host Caroline Dowd-Higgins, career and professional development author, speaker and influencer.  Her podcast series, "Your Working Life," features "candid interviews with luminaries" in the career, leadership, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and wellness fields.  In addition to her talk show host role, Caroline is the Director of Career & Professional Development for the Indiana University Alumni Association, and I first met her when she was the Director of Career Services at Indiana University Law.  Caroline is a dynamic woman who works to empower women, and it was my pleasure to be her interview guest for a second time.

Here are some teasers on what we discussed:

How my  background and experience as a lawyer has informed the Best Friends at the Bar project;
How my passion and mission for the project developed and how Best Friends at the Bar has grown over the years to include a three-book series, a global program, and a valuable resource for women lawyers at all stages of their careers;
My vision for the future of the Best Friends at the Bar project; and
The role of men in the Best Friends at the Bar project.

The discussion about the role of men in the project is particularly important.   As long ago as 2007 when I started writing my first book, I knew that men had to be a part of the conversation about overcoming the challenges for women lawyers.  I understood that if you want to "talk truth to power,"  you must have power in the room.  Although that seemed so fundamental to me, it is not the approach that some of the women's law organizations have taken over time.  My commitment to the critical role that male lawyers play in finding solutions for women lawyers was demonstrated by my selection of male contributors to my first book and continues to be a guiding principle in my work, including in the new book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2015).

Caroline and I also talked about the role of male law firm leaders in the new Multi-session Program to Support Law Firm Women's Initiatives, which I launched just days ago.  The first session is devoted to effective leadership for women lawyers --- and that includes effective male leadership.   I am excited about the prospects of getting both male and female lawyers into the room together to discuss effective leadership and how negative leadership traits can have such a devastating effect on women and the unique values they bring to the workplace.  The research is likely to surprise a few people!

You can listen to the podcast by linking to one of the following:

Caroline's website:

Caroline's iTunes channel:


I hope you enjoy it!

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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