What’s the best piece of career advice you have received? - “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”

I grew up learning a form of classical Indian dance called Odissi that demanded rigorous practice and meticulous attention to detail. Throughout the years, my guru gently corrected my form in innumerable ways. She would even correct the sound that my feet made when they hit the ground, which she said was a dead giveaway of whether I was applying the right technique in my stepping. My focus on the minutiae of my movements translated well in other areas of my life. I was the type of high school student who would pore over a reading assignment for hours, trying to make sure…

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Dominate Your Purpose: Be Yourself. Do Good Work.

It is no surprise to me at all that my number one peace of career advice comes from my mother. At a very young age, I remember her saying, “Always remember to dominate your purpose.” She would say it when I was approaching a new phase in life or when I was faced with a difficult challenge. In reflecting on the various points in my life when I heard this powerful phrase, I realize that my interpretation of its meaning has evolved over time. When I was a child, it meant to give my very best at school and in my activities.…

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Do Certain Personalities Make More Successful Lawyers?

Results from a study published by the Arizona Summit Law Review concluded that the stereotypical “lawyer personality,” in which thinking dominates feeling, may not apply to successful women lawyers.  The study, Super Women Lawyers: A Study of Character Strengths, found that women who excel in the profession “exhibit a predominance of heart strengths as opposed to more analytical head strengths, with gratitude and kindness appearing most frequently.” After tests and interviews with women named to Super Lawyers, the study found: Gratitude was the most common top strength, followed by kindness, social intelligence, zest – all of which are termed heart strengths; Of the top ten strengths, the…

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You’ve landed the in-house job, now what?

Landing a new in-house position can come with an initial feeling of exhilaration, but the change associated with moving to a new company, or moving in-house for the first time, can feel daunting and intimidating.  I’ve moved to a few different in-house departments over my decade of practice, and while each organization has been different, I’ve learned a few core maxims that help set myself up for long term success.  1. Expect the unexpected.   No matter how much research you’ve done on the company or the industry, or how many people you interviewed with prior to accepting the position, you…

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Desiree Goff

What is the number one piece of career advice you received?

There is an old sage in medicine: when you hear thundering hooves, look for horses not zebras. The premise is that if you are searching for a diagnosis, always go with the more common (e.g. horse) diagnosis. Don’t look for a zebra when the solution only needs horse medicine. This phrase can also be applied to law as well. Current statistics show us that women are under represented in practice, partnership, and fields such as intellectual property. Women in leadership are zebras in both the legal and biotechnology worlds. According to the American Bar Association’s “A Current Glance at Women…

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“Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket”

The best career advice -- “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” -- does not even have an author. We’ve all heard the phrase, perhaps for different contexts, including dating and investing. Yet, I most appreciate the versatile nature of the idiom when applied to my nontraditional career path and future aspirations.   First, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a sound approach when seeking opportunities. When I talk to a mentee in the middle of their job search, they often share a focus on one category of positions. As a mentor, I believe it is…

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The Mental Load: Holiday Survival Guide for the Time-Crunched Professional

As year-end approaches, many of you are undoubtedly feeling equal parts cheer and….mind-blowing stress. As if keeping your usual responsibilities in check wasn’t already enough to make you feel like you’re walking a daily tightrope, we’ve now reached the lovely time of year where we get to add on innumerable extras. Like finding an outfit for the office party that simultaneously conveys professionalism and a touch of festive glitz; ensuring the Elf of the Shelf doesn’t inadvertently arrive a day later than precisely the same day she flew into town last year (don’t think for a second that three-year-old children of…

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Does Gender Play a Role in Attorney Ethics?

A study published by Florida State University Law Review found that women attorneys are disciplined at a significantly lower rate than their male counterparts and generally incur less severe sanctions. Does this mean women make more ethical attorneys? According to the researchers that’s open to interpretation.  The study found data could only support theories or confirm they weren’t applicable. Although ultimately inconclusive the report delved into broad biological, physiological, social and cultural differences, how these apply to attorneys, and how they apply to the substantial difference in disciplinary rates. Among these:  Disciplinary boards are not easier on women. The study found that regressions on…

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Submit Your Nominations for the 2020 Ms. JD Honors Awards!

Ms. JD is proud to continue honoring exceptional women and men making contributions to the advancement of women in the legal profession through Ms. JD Honors. The Ms. JD Honors Reception will take place in connection with Ms. JD’s 12th annual conference, When Women Lead, at Northwestern Law on March 13, 2020. The Ms. JD Honors awards will celebrate those who demonstrate passion for their careers and share that passion with other men and women. Nominations are due by Friday, January 24th.   Below is a description of the awards and instructions for submitting nominations. Woman of Inspiration Award - To a woman who, regardless of her practice area or type…

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Managing Final Exam Stress

Nothing makes a law student more anxious than the thought of final exams. A semesters worth of knowledge typically all comes down to one exam. In law school, certain classes’ final assessments will be in the form of a paper, and other classes may have midterm examinations, but the grade in most courses is determined by one final examination. With the sheer though of finals typically comes anxiety and panic. All law students understand that grades matter and that one moment could be a determining factor in an entire law school career. Below are three quick tips for manage stress…

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