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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The Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Gotten

I can clearly recall the day I finally understood the most important advice I’d ever gotten from a mentor. I was sitting at my desk with my head in my lap. After hitting an all-time low during particularly brutal mock trial tournament in Ohio, fumbling to put together a presentation for my firm’s most important case of the season, poring through midterm material, and barely having the time to eat (let alone sleep), I’d had enough. I’d bombed my mock trial case and I wasn’t sure what I would bomb next. As I watched the minute hand ticking from one…

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Self-Care Airplane Style

   “If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your oxygen mask on first, and then assist the other person.”  In putting your own oxygen mask on first, you ensure that you can retain enough oxygen to help put masks on those around you. If instead, you attempt to help others put their masks on first without putting on your own, you risk losing oxygen and ultimately being unsuccessful in helping that other person and yourself. This statement, part of the airline safety demonstration, is often disregarded by passengers who are busy sending off one…

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Number One Piece of Career Advice? Make Sure You’re Not Writing the Wrong Story

Very often when a group of writer friends and I get together – either in real life or in the virtual realm, we will share our works-in-progress. Premises, hooks, plot holes and characters are brought to life by their various creators. Most of us will give advice and feedback only when solicited. A few loyal friends will give advice even when it’s not. And occasionally, one writer will make a confession. I hate this process. It’s grueling. I’m miserable. One time, when I heard this familiar lament at a writers’ conference, made by a writer who was frustrated and even…

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Writing an Effective Thank-You Note

The number one piece of career advice I have received is to write thoughtful thank-you notes, not only following job interviews and correspondence, but also for reasons such as thanking a person for his or her time.  These communications are collegial, allow time for reflection, and provide chances to mention additional subjects that were not covered in conversations.  They are also excellent networking tools and writing samples.  Thank-you notes also serve important purposes when a person is not selected for a job they really want but may wish to receive future consideration at an organization or when someone has to…

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How to Successfully Navigate the Challenges of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness – a time to cherish your family and look to the future with hope. Unfortunately for lawyers, it can also be a season of great tension. How you manage this tension and handle conflicting obligations is important. 4 Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season As a lawyer and a mother, you have a lot on your plate. Not only do you have to deal with work and all of the obligations that pop up in November and December, but there may also be the expectation that you’ll…

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The Advice that Saved and Helped Make My Career: Stop Thinking and Start Doing

The best career advice I ever received was so simple but so fundamental: stop thinking and start doing. Like many lawyers, one of my prized assets is my analytical mind. Personal strengths, as many of us discover, can often double as areas of challenge. Early in my practice and as a new mom, I regularly worried about what the future might hold, and how I could achieve equity partnership and balance the other demands in my life. I focused on the odds and stark realities instead of developing a plan and planting the seeds that would be necessary to reach…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Must Be on the Lookout for Sexual Harassment

You all need to be aware of possible sexual harassment in your offices.  These allegations are surfacing across all industries today, and none of us can act like it is not a problem in our profession and in our offices.  We all know that it is.  It was a problem when I first started practicing law in 1979, and it is still a problem today. If you see something, say something.  Sexual harassment can be blatant or it can be subtle --- like when a woman refuses advances from a supervising male colleague and ends up losing support for her…

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Do What You Love, But Be Open to Doing It Anywhere

“You can always come back,” my professor told me. It was my third year of law school, and I was stressed out about clerkships. My only clerkship interview was in Phoenix. But I lived in Los Angeles, the city that had become my home. My professor was helping me prepare for the interview. We were figuring out how I would explain why I wanted to live in a new city. I didn’t want to move. I wanted to start my legal career surrounded by people and places I knew. My professor told me that if I received an offer, I…

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Teaching the Importance of Diversity

Ms. Shay Lawson is an intellectual property attorney who owns and operates Advocate Law Group in Atlanta, Georgia that boasts such clients as former White House Chef, Marvin Woods, and TRAP Karaoke. But, even with the busy schedule of operating her own firm, Ms. Lawson finds time to use her nearly ten years of experience consulting with law firms and other businesses seeking to improve their organization’s commitment and fulfillment to diversity and inclusion. How did you get involved in “Diversity Consulting?” I started in consulting with a company called Intern Bridge after participating as a speaker and workshop facilitator in…

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