Ms. JD is Now Accepting Applications for Its 2018 Writers in Residence Program!

Ms. JD is currently seeking applications for our 2018 Writers in Residence Program. The Writers in Residence program was started in 2010 and is a select group of practicing attorneys, alternative career individuals, pre-law students, current law students, and other professionals who contribute monthly articles for one year to the Ms. JD blog on a topic of their choosing. Some blog titles this year were: Concrete Ceilings and Open Doors: Women of Color & The Law, Drive Your Journey, Monthly Mantra: Finding Health and Wellness in the Law, Failure Turned Inside Out, The Road Less Traveled: Alternative Legal Paths, The M in…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Learning the Value of Authenticity in 2017

After reading the application requirements for the 2018 Writers-in-Residence program, I was reminded of career advice I received this past Summer that permanently changed my path: “You have to be really good at what you do and you have to look for opportunities to expand what you do.” A simple answer from Esta Stecher, in response to someone asking the million-dollar question: “How can we become as successful as you have been? Any tips?” The answer was so simple that you could hear the eye-rolls from people around me, as they remarked on how obvious the advice was. For me,…

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Take Two: It’s just the beginning

Whew it’s December. This year has flown by rather quickly. I can’t believe that 2017 is almost over. I was just talking with a friend the other day about her birthday party, only to realize that it was five months ago. It’s crazy how time flies by (when you are having fun), but also when you are busy. I have to keep reminding myself what day it is because all the days mesh together. Being a part of the Writers in Residence Program has taught me to appreciate what we have. There’s a saying that we want what we can’t…

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Be Courageous Enough To Just Be You

We started this blogging journey together almost a year ago. By that time, I had read plenty of articles about the state of women of color at large law firms and how a significant number of these women will leave their law firms before even being considered for partnership (women of color remain the most underrepresented group at the partnership level). Frankly, the stories became redundant and many were terribly disappointing. I named this blog “Concrete Ceilings and Open Doors: Women of Color & The Law” because women of color often hit a “concrete ceiling” in terms of advancement and…

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Skirting the Ceiling: Success in Strength

Over the past year as a writer-in-residence, I explored gender dynamics and sexism in law. We talked about gender stereotypes and sexual harassment and how they affect workplace dynamics. We learned about women in law who were the first to break gender norms and how the industry's treatment of women evolved over time. Most importantly, we've engaged in conversation. Whether it be in the comments at the bottom of this page, on LinkedIn, or on Facebook, I've learned so much from each of you and am honored that so many took time to read and think about these issues that shape so…

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Career Satisfaction is Not Always a Straight Line

During my second year of law school I had the good fortune to clerk for a bankruptcy court judge. When he had breaks from the bench, we sat in chambers discussing cases. Sometimes we talked about my career goals. At that point, the only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to try cases. My most memorable conversation with the Judge provided me with the best career advice I ever received. It went something like this:             Judge:  What kind of life do you want to create?             Me:  Oh, ok. Um, what…

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The Best Career Advice I Ever Received: Remove the Golden Handcuffs

I knew pretty quickly that practicing law was not a fit for me.  I tried private practice with a small firm, a large firm, and government, and I tried really, really hard to like being a lawyer.  At each position I had a great salary, incredible benefits, and amazing coworkers and bosses.  Some aspects of the work I liked (writing, arguing motions, travel) but most of it I hated (the antagonism, billable hour, lack of control over my personal life).  At various times along the way, I’d become frustrated and stuck so I took classes and personality tests, scoured job…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

To start this column, help me help you: Send me the tips you use to make sure you track all of your time. Just send an e-mail here, tweet to @babysharklaw, or post a comment here. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. I thank you, and your fellow lawyers thank you! Q: I hear the advice all the time that associates should not make the same mistake twice. But no one makes mistakes on purpose. Do you have any suggestions to make sure mistakes don’t happen again? A: I do. But remember that mistakes don’t just…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Looking Back at 2017 at Best Friends at the Bar

The Best Friends at the Bar year is about to come to a close.  Yes, I know that the entire month of December lies ahead before the Big Ball drops in Times Square and that you still have time for holiday shopping, holiday cards, holiday decorations, attending parties, giving parties, baking and cooking ... and the list goes on.  Do not panic, you have plenty of time to accomplish all this and more.  You are young and energetic and incredibly resourceful.  I have complete faith in you. I, on the other hand, have the luxury of taking the month of December off…

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Failure Turned Inside Out: Asking for a Friend

Sometimes the desire to help others is not enough. Before ending this column, I thought it was important to share my own story with my readers. It was a bit odd being the interviewee, but I pushed myself to answer some of the same questions I have been asking other women during this past year so this journey with you all could come full circle. For me, becoming a lawyer has always been a means to an end. I knew very early on that it would be the first step to evolving into a diplomat or politician championing the civil…

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