Susan Smith Blakely

New Women’s Legal Network to Launch in UK

Let's hear it for the young women lawyers in London.  They are gathering together to engage talent and to promote the next generation of female solicitors.  Bravo!  I will wave my Union Jack for that!

The group, known as Women in Law London (WILL), seems to be the first of its kind in the UK.  The target membership is female solicitors at the pre-partnership level in both private firms and in-house.  The five young women organizers have grit and foresight.   Their concerns are for the low retention rates for women lawyers in the UK and having options available for women who entertain leaving the profession.  They are quoted in a recent edition of The Lawyer as being "passionate about ensuring talent retention at the highest level, but also [recognising] that women in law will also have individual and varied ultimate goals."

For me, there is a welcomed echo in the room.  The goals of WILL sound remarkably similar to those of Best Friends at the Bar, and I am really pleased to know that there is a mirror image of my project across "The Pond."   I am particularly impressed that these young women "got with it" earlier in their careers than I did, and I applaud them for those early and timely instincts and efforts.

The official launch of WILL is scheduled for October17, 2014 with a networking event, which will include a speech by Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London and former law partner at CMS Cameron McKenna.  Quarterly networking forums, as well as discussion panels and guest speaker events, are being planned as follow-up events.

Congratulations to the women lawyers of WILL!  I wish them the best of luck in this exciting venture.

To find out more about WILL, read this article in The Lawyer.

Susan Smith Blakely is the Founder of LegalPerspectives LLC and a 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.  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.
Ms. Blakely graduated from the University of Wisconsin with distinction and from Georgetown University Law Center where she taught legal research and writing. She also is a Marshall Goldsmith trained career and leadership coach and a member of the CoachSource global network of leadership coaches.  She also is a career coach for the Indiana University Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy.   For more information, please visit 

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