Susan Smith Blakely

My Mom, the Lawyer

I just read a book that you all need to know about ---- to read and to recommend to all of the lawyers in your lives.  By "all" I mean both the female lawyers and the male lawyers in your orbits.

The book, My Mom the Lawyer, by Louisville, KY lawyer/mom Michelle Browning Coughlin, hits all the marks of my own Best Friends at the Bar project for women lawyers.  Like me, Michelle and her project, Mothers Esquire, are devoted to increasing retention and promotion rates for women lawyers.  And, like me, Ms. Coughlin also extends her project to male lawyers, who are parents and caregivers.

Here is a description of Mothers Esquire from the website:

We are Moms. We are Lawyers. We are Master-Negotiators and Multi-Taskers -- at work and at home. We are the Equity Partners at the office and the Team Coach at school. We drive mini-vans to depositions and to carpool line. We read briefs by day and Goodnight Moon by night. And we are bringing women together to Disrupt the "Motherhood Penalty" in our profession.

My Mom the Lawyer is written for young children to explain what mommy does when she is not acting like mommy to them.  A book like this could have been written by me for my children and some day can be written by my daughter for her children.   That is the way it is these days --- mommy the lawyer and grandma the lawyer --- but that does not make it easy for young children to understand.  This book makes it easier.

There are examples of law student moms, law partner moms, trial lawyer moms, transactional lawyer moms, in-house counsel moms, solo practitioner moms, politician/legislator moms, remote office lawyer moms, law professor moms, and moms who are judges.  It's all there.

Other themes include the leadership potential of women lawyers, the importance of childcare/parenting sharing, the reasons why home time sometimes becomes office time, and the pains of relocation for job reasons.  Even very young children can get a sense of what lawyer/moms do.

Diversity is one of the strengths of this book.  The lawyer moms and their children are from diverse cultural backgrounds, and the simple but vibrant illustrations underscore the messages of diversity.  

Congratulations to Michelle Browning Coughlin for the book.  I enjoyed the read.  So will you and your children.

Information for book purchase can be found on the Mothers Esquire website.

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,, Daily Muse, Lawyer and Statesman,, Georgetown Law Magazine, Legal Toolkit Podcast, 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 

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