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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Bullying Other Women Lawyers—- Not a Pretty Picture

  If you never have been bullied in the workplace, you are lucky. If you never have been bullied in the workplace by another woman, you are very lucky. It happens much too often, and you need to make sure that you are not the bully.  That is the only way we will get this under control. I, like most women lawyers, have been bullied at one time or another.  We are minorities, and that, unfortunately, is how minorities get treated.  Many of us were "pioneers" in our fields, and, because of that, the forces were against us in an…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Leadership Lessons for Women Lawyers

  My friend, Caroline Dowd-Higgins, is an excellent career coach, motivational speaker and author of "This is Not the Career I Ordered."   Her recent blog "15 Leadership Lessons to Invigorate Your Career"  is worthy of your attention.  Caroline and I first met when she was the Career Services Dean at Indiana University Law, and I think it is no accident that her advice rings true for young lawyers. Here is her list (with a little editorial help from me!):       Be Confident:  Confidence can be more important to career success than competence.   Confidence is developed by…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Why Young Lawyers Need Mentors—- and Why the Profession is Failing Them

It is not just young women lawyers who desperately need mentoring --- it is all young lawyers.  And, the profession is failing them. Young lawyers need mentors to help guide them in their professional growth and provide opportunities to discuss their futures as lawyers.  Instead, too often, young lawyers flail around doing what they think they should be doing without knowing what it is they should be doing. And, that leads to a lot of insecurity and loneliness on the job.  The profession has evolved in such a way that an associate lawyer can spend eight to ten hours a…

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Women In Family Law: Success Versus Stereotypes

As a woman in the legal world, there are two general paths you can take; you can opt for the “soft” specializations like labor, immigration, and family law or you can pave a path and take on the boys club – corporate law and high-profile criminal cases. Which do you choose and how will you justify your choice? Because make no mistake, as a successful woman, you’ll be asked to justify any and every choice. There isn’t an easy or a right choice when determining what area of law to pursue and great lawyers are needed everywhere. The key is…

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Four Reasons Why Telecommuting Is Better For Women (That Have Nothing To Do With The Mommy Thing)

I’m going to throw out a bold prediction. Working from home is better for women. Especially for women in high-intensity, male-dominated professions, such as law. Here are four reasons why – none of which have anything to do with childcare flexibility. 1.That Hair-and-Makeup Thing.   This morning, I witnessed one of my closest friends (a non-lawyer who works in an executive role at a financial institution in Midtown Manhattan) spend close to an hour on hair and makeup prior to leaving for work. After rising before the sun and disappearing into the bathroom, she sat down next to me on…

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Failure Turned Inside Out: Failure is a State of Mind

Name: Ryan S. Ragland, Esq. Professional Title: Municipal Trial Counsel, Hamilton County Public Defender Sector: Public Law School: The Ohio State University Years Practicing: 1.5 years  Area of Specialization: Criminal Defense “I am passionate about making sure they are humanized.”  Full disclosure: the woman I am featuring in this month’s edition of Failure Turned Inside Out is one of my best friends in the entire world. And while I may be a bit biased here, I think that her poise, maturity, and depth as a human being is awe-inspiring because these characteristics speak to the qualities that true carriers of…

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The Fear of the Unknown

I started taking my son to an early learning center when he was three months old so that I continue going to law school. He has attended that same school since and is now two and a half. That first day was rough. So rough, that I made my husband drop him off and I still cried. I will never forget it. But the tears were short lived because I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew that I was doing something that would benefit my family in the long run. I also knew that I was…

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The End of Summer and Feelings of Inadequacy

The past two months passed by quickly. The last vestiges of summer is here, with a new school year to begin in four days. My oldest will be starting 3rd grade, while my other two will remain home for awhile longer. It is quite possible my second will be starting pre-school in January. It depends on whether there is space for him. As summer ends, I feel remorse and regret. Not because I did not take the bar. More so that I feel I was not ‘good enough’ as a mother to my children. Every year, there are certain annual…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I have just started having direct contact with a client. I need some information from the client to complete a project. But I have contacted the client several times, and I have not gotten any response. I'm concerned about telling the partner, because the partner may think I can’t handle the situation. Do you have any suggestions? A: Yes. The client is probably just busy. You can try some additional approaches, but if the project is languishing, you need to tell the partner. My answer below assumes, of course, that the information you requested is not something that your…

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Join the Conversation:  Benefit of the Doubt

We all make mistakes.  On a recent team I managed, everybody made mistakes – from the contract document reviewers to the eDiscovery vendor to the associates.  Yet some people’s mistakes will become easily forgotten while others will become remembered for their mistakes.  What determines whose mistakes get forgotten and whose get remembered?  Could it be our race, ethnicity, and gender?  I will argue that in our workplace and our community, the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t depends heavily on the way that others treat or react to our mistakes.  I will argue that it is not…

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