By Susan Smith Blakely • February 08, 2017•Careers, Firms and the Private Sector
I started talking about the importance of “True Grit” for women lawyers as long ago as 2012 when my second book came out. In Best Friends at the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business), I included a chapter titled “You Really Need True Grit,” and in 2014 I wrote more on the subject in a blog addressing the value of true grit for women lawyers.
So, you can imagine how happy I was to see that the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession is taking grit very seriously as well. According to a recent article in the ABA Journal, the ABA’s Grit Project was introduced in 2014, just two years after I first wrote about it, and was based on research by Milana Hogan, the chief legal recruiting and professional development officer at Sullivan & Cromwell. She first discovered a statistical link between grit and successful women and then applied it more broadly to women lawyers in 2016.
Ms. Hogan defined “grit” as “behavioral persistence in the face of adversity” and “sustained, passionate pursuits of goals,” as shared at the recent ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami, where the soon-to-be-released ABA book titled “Grit, the Secret to Advancement: Stories of Successful Women lawyers” was introduced. The book will include 45 letters from women who used grit to advance their careers. Look for it in August.
Although I was not able to attend the Miami program last Friday, I was delighted to see that one of the panelists was the Honorable Patricia Seitz, Senior U.S. District Judge, Southern District of Florida. She is a great role model for women lawyers, and she did me the honor of attending the program that I presented for the judges and law clerks of the Southern District of Florida in 2011. I believe I talked a little bit about grit that long ago, and I keep talking about it.
This is important stuff, and you need to pay attention to safeguard your career and improve the overall quality of your work experience. Chapter 10 of Best Friends at the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyers (2012) provides concrete examples of what “true grit” means and how to implement it. I invite you to take a look —for your own good!