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Vicarious Trauma: Do You Have To Carry Client Struggles Home?

Being a lawyer is a stressful job; the hours are long, clients are in difficult situations, and every situation is an adversarial one. In certain legal specialties, though, client trauma can be particularly extreme, and this can lead to a state known as vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma occurs when someone is repeatedly exposed to another’s traumatic experiences. Overcome by hearing about other’s experiences, you may experience PTSD symptoms similar to that of your clients. It’s an unfortunate consequence of caring about people who have been harmed. Living with vicarious trauma is overwhelming and can even make it difficult for you…

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Should You Specialize in Mass Tort Law?

Mass tort law is booming, and a lot of attorneys are starting to add mass tort claims into their personal injury firms. Mass tort can impact 2 – 4 million people annually, and these impacts can be serious or fatal. The rise in mass tort comes at a time when there are product liability cases against medical device and pharmaceutical companies. The attractive aspect of mass tort is that it’s still in an immature phase. Clients can be found once, and when the case is large enough, it will result in possibly hundreds or thousands joining a claim. The settlements…

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LinkedIn Success in 3 Easy Steps: Job Hunters Edition

Happy New Year dear readers!  I am happy to report that I am back on the blog.  In fact, after such a rewarding experience blogging as a 2018 Writer in Residence for Ms. JD, I have accepted a position on its Board of Directors.  I am really excited about getting more deeply involved and helping Ms. JD bring exciting programs and opportunities for young women everywhere. My latest blogging inspiration manifested itself during a recent alumni women's circle I joined.  I heard from several women recognizing the value of having a LinkedIn presence, but saying they were intimidated by how…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I dread looking at my phone in the morning. Every day I am inundated with emails, usually from offices in an earlier time zone. The emails often contain random requests that don’t seem as if they would take much time, but they end up blowing up my mornings. Sometimes partners want me to find documents for them. Or people want status updates. I am a morning person, and I theoretically could do my best work in the morning, but I end up chasing down information. I try to get up earlier and earlier, but I can only get up…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Diversity in Big Law—- An Ultimatum from Corporate America

A very large group of general counsels (170 to be exact) posted a letter and signatures on a LinkedIn group page this week in support of diversity of women and minorities in law firms.  The letter was a direct result of discussion after the Paul Wise law firm announced a new class of partners in December, complete with photos of them all.  That would be all white males and one white female. The reaction to the lack of diversity was harsh throughout the profession and in the media, and the LinkedIn effort soon was launched by Michelle Fang, chief legal officer of…

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The Confidence Equation: How To Stand Out As A New Face In Big Law

If applying for work at a prestigious law firm is anxiety-provoking, actually getting the gig can be even more frightening. Now you’re the new face in the office, surrounded by established lawyers, and that’s enough to trigger a serious case of imposter syndrome, especially as a woman. Do you really belong here? Will you succeed? The fact is, though finding your footing can be a challenge, doubting yourself won’t help. No, now is the time to fake it til you make it and even take some risks. As a new member of the team, you have little to lose and…

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Are you struggling with your goals for the new year?

Just yesterday I was thinking about all the things I want to accomplish this year - 2019 is going to be a big one! If you’re also setting goals or if you made resolutions for the new year, keep something in mind - people often set new year’s resolutions starting January 1st. Let’s think that through a bit. You’ve just made it through the holiday season, countless parties and events, a hectic year-end at work, visits with family and friends, and new year’s celebrations. You’re just coming up for air. You’re tired. You probably feel like you need a break.…

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Interview with Michelle Skalrud, Excel Sports Management Counsel - On the Field: Women in Sports Law

          Please welcome Michelle Skalrud, Contracts Counsel at Excel Sports Management. In addition to earning her J.D. from New York Law School in 2015, Michelle earned a Master of Science in Sports Management from Columbia University. Michelle previously worked at Creative Artists Agency and served as a Legal Intern at the Brooklyn Nets, NBA Coaches Association, and Cuttita LLP.             Thank you so much for your time, Michelle Skalrud. Let’s get started! I’d be delighted if you could walk us through your typical day as Contracts Counsel at Excel Sports Management. Has…

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Career Advice: Sometimes You Just Have to Say “%^&* ‘Em!”

As a young associate, my supervisor was a stressed-out, unpredictable, yet unfalteringly transparent mid-level partner. I’d approach his office with the typical timidity of a newly minted lawyer soliciting input from an esteemed superior, praying my question was warranted and his mood would be receptive. Sometimes, we’d have spirited intellectual discussions, and I’d leave his office wiser and with a fantastic plan for tackling a tough issue. Other days, he’d peer up from his desk with an unshaven face, tousled hair, and bags under his eyes, apparently frustrated by my mere existence, and apologize because he didn’t have two minutes…

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Career Advice for the Long Road: Build Relationships

The number one piece of career advice I have received is that being a successful lawyer means you need to prioritize the building and cultivating of relationships – relationships with colleagues, with clients, and with the community.  The relationships you make both in and outside of the practice of law are what sustain you for the long road.  Early in your career, forging relationships of trust with partners and other colleagues based on your work ethic and work product is what will provide you with a steady stream of billable hours within your firm.  Those relationships lead the way to…

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