Susan Smith Blakely

How Women Lawyers Are Perceived:  The Double Bind

Perception can be more important than fact.  I learned that when I was Chief of Staff for an elected official.  Politics is ripe for misperception, but the applications go far beyond that setting. Women often are the unfortunate recipients of misperceptions.  And that is especially true of women lawyers.  For example, women lawyers often are judged in a harsher light than their male counterparts when they display assertiveness, self-promotion or anger, according to a survey conducted by the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings College of Law for the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Corporate Counsel…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Are You Addressing Your Workplace Wellness?

Wellness is a big deal in the legal world today.  Not wellness as in healthcare law.  Wellness as in the mental and physical health of lawyers. We know that statistics support a concern about drug and alcohol addiction among lawyers, but until recently the effects of anxiety and depression had not gotten as much attention.  It was a 2016 landmark study by the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation that revealed to me just how widespread and alarming the problems have become among lawyers. Anxiety and depression experienced by law professionals are serious and…

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Stratus Admissions

Top 3 Cliches To Avoid In Your Law School Personal Statement

Editor's Note: All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.  You’ve taken the LSAT (and hopefully scored well), built a strong academic record in college and pursued internships that offered valuable life experience and prepared you for a career in the law. You are now ready to apply to law school. Bear in mind that law school Admissions Committees (AdComs) read thousands of these essays per year and come across the same overused themes and logical fallacies. When you begin to compose your personal statement, your mind blanks. You think to yourself, “I know that I’m an interesting…

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biglawinvestor

How to Get A Handle on Student Loans

It's that time of the year again. Fall is in the air and thousands of newly-minted lawyers across the country are walking into their first jobs after having passed the bar exam (we hope!). While the flush of starting a career is a lot of fun, there's usually a monster hiding in the background that many lawyers would prefer to avoid: staggering student loan debt.  Luckily, paying off your student loans is a problem that you're well-equipped to handle, assuming you decide to take a proactive approach rather than burying your head in the sand. Get your arms around your…

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robertaoroberts

Healing Hurt With High Heels:  How One Aspiring Law Student Helps Others Heal from Domestic Violence

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, [1] so this article shares the story of a pre-law student who started her own nonprofit organization for survivors of domestic violence after surviving domestic violence herself.  I am honored to share this conversational interview I had with Ronshanda “Nikki” Chaney about how she found purpose from her pain and in turn helps others heal through her novels and organization, Heel My Heart.  --- Nikki, thank you so much for taking time to answer questions for me as the October member spotlight for Grace for the Grind™ Career Mastermind!  Let’s start off with…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Importance of Feedback for Millennial Lawyers

Millennial lawyers need feedback from supervising attorneys on a project basis --- not just once or twice a year in scheduled reviews.  That is well-established.  People in positions like mine hear it all the time, and we know how important feedback is to junior lawyers --- especially those who were raised with an abundance of feedback and mostly praise. What does not get as much attention is the critical failure by law firms to revise review policies and mentoring efforts to meet the feedback needs of young lawyers.   As I have stated to law firm and bar association audiences…

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ktran227

Where Are All the (Asian American) Female Lawyers?

In my ongoing discussion about why women lawyers leave law firms, I want to take a look at why one subset in particular leaves at higher rates than all others:  Asian American women.  So why are Asian American women leaving law firms?  My personal answer:  Statistical Probability.  Google this question, and you’ll see article after article about Asian Americans and the practice of law.  And in my very unscientific survey of these articles I note the following: (1) for the last two decades Asian Americans make up the largest minority group within big law firms; (2) Asian Americans have one…

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XpYmu98NtP

The Mental Load: Is Impatience a Virtue for Type A Personalities?

I made a quick stop at the grocery store recently to grab a gallon of milk. As I hurried out, the automatic doors opened WAY too slow for my liking. I mean, I practically had to stop dead in my tracks and WAIT for the doors so I could resume my desired pace. You’d think by now they’d make automatic doors that function a little quicker, right? If it hadn’t been for my recent study of Type A personality, I would have ended my train of thought with this agitated observation about the ineptitude of the doors. But I’ve been…

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mjtimko13

Something Blue: Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession – An Interview with Rexanah Wyse

For this month's post, I am delighted to feature an interview with Rexanah P. Wyse, a first generation attorney and former prosecutor dedicated to changing the narrative for vulnerable populations.  Rexanah currently works for the federal government where she serves on a policy team that is focused on youth homelessness, criminal justice, racial equity, human trafficking, and ending homelessness for families.   Could you tell Ms. JD blog readers about your background and what prompted you to apply to law school? My lineage is directly tied to Sierra Leone in West Africa.  A small developing nation with a powerful history of…

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Pmjesquire

The Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Received: Don’t Succumb To Self-Doubt

An associate in a small firm reached out to me because she was having difficulty after only two years in practice.  She worked for a partner whom she described as “really smart”.  She said that the partner expected her to know a lot more than she did.  When she asked for help, she was criticized for asking.  No matter how hard she tried, she only received negative feedback.  She felt like she just couldn’t win, no matter what she did.  I knew the partner she worked for to have a very difficult personality, so none of what the associate recounted…

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