Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers:  Time To Get Organized!

September is here. You are back from the beach or the exotic vacation of your dreams, which you could afford because you are one of the lucky young lawyers who has a good job and a significant salary. So, this is the time when you need to buckle down and secure that good job and significant salary for the future.

It is show time once again, and people are watching. Make a good impression in these first weeks of the Fall. People are back at work, and they are serious again. They are no longer thinking of summer vacations, and gone are the casual get-togethers for summer associates that make the law firm look like a country club. Now, the lawyers in your firm are thinking about client development, networking, positioning themselves on law firm and law organization committees, and meeting their billable hour requirements.

That's a lot to think about, but you have to think about it, too. Now is the time for you to reassess your professional and personal goals. How do they fit together? If you are in your first years of practice, you know that I recommend putting most of your energy into your profession. It will help establish you as an asset to your employer and give you leverage later when you may need flexibility to achieve satisfactory work-life balance, which may include children and increased family responsibilities. That is called front loading your practice for future benefits, and it is something important to think about. It is an investment in your future, just like health insurance and homeowners insurance. It is a good idea.

So, how do you use this time wisely to secure your professional future? Tune into my next blog for the specifics.

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 www.bestfriendsatthebar.com. 

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