Susan Smith Blakely

Young Lawyers Need to Own Their Careers and Increase Their Visibility

The mission of Best Friends at the Bar is to make all young lawyers succeed in practice.  I speak and write to advance this mission, and, this Fall alone, I will have delivered at least five programs on the issues of most importance to that mission --- programs specific to millennial lawyers, programs specific to the success of women lawyers, and programs about the responsibility of senior lawyers to take measures to retain and advance young lawyers.

One of the most popular programs I present focuses on "Owning Your Career and Reinvention." I delivered messages about your responsibilities for owning and advancing careers earlier this week to the American Bar Association Anti-Trust Women's Initiative at an event associated with the ABA Anti-Trust Committee's larger event and a week earlier in a webinar on behalf of Thompson Reuters (West).

I talk about:

  • Realistic Career Expectations;
  • Managing Your Career, including having a career plan early and developing "personal definitions of success" by defining yourself and your needs according to individual values;
  • Work-Life Balance;
  •  Building Your Brand;
  • Self Advocacy and Negotiating for Yourself;
  • Gender Challenges, including gender discrimination and bias; and
  • The Do's and Don'ts for young lawyers.

These are very important issues, and it is always my pleasure to see them addressed by others --- particularly those who are "walking the walk" in practice and who validate my own messages and concerns.

So, I call your attention to an article in Law.com that addresses firm visibility.  Like the subjects that I address on a regular basis, the author of this article, a young partner in Big Law, addresses issues that are critical to advancing from the associate to the partner ranks.  Although the article is addressed in large measure to young partners, all of the subjects addressed there are equally important to associates and their career success.  Here is a sampling of subjects addressed there:

  • Be a team player and trusted adviser:
  • Be willing to re-invent yourself; and
  • Spend time on non-billable or pro bono activities, including joining committees and becoming a leader both internally and externally.

Team player.  The need for reinvention.  Becoming a leader.  These are all subjects that appear over and over in my work.  However, there are a few nuances in this article, and I hope you read it.  It will be an important resource for you.

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