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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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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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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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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Lawyers:  Ask for What You Want!

Asking for what you want?  Ah.  It is much harder than it sounds.  But, you must master the fine art of identifying what you want and asking for it.  Especially at work where every opportunity lost can negatively affect your career path. My friend Anne Loehr just posted an article about this, and I thank her for that.  As a leadership consultant to companies and firms, she has done a lot of thinking about this.  She isn't always writing for lawyers, but the same rules apply throughout the working world. Anne rightfully points out that the response "I don't care" is…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What All Lawyers Need to Know about Origination Credit

If you are a lawyer just beginning your career, you probably don't spend a lot of time worrying about origination credit.  In fact, maybe you never heard of the concept.  That makes sense.  You have a lot of other things to worry about that affect you on a daily basis in pursuit of improving your skills and becoming the best lawyer you can be. But there is a difference between "worrying about" and "being informed about."  As far as I am concerned, every private practice lawyer, regardless of experience, needs to at least be familiar with the concept of origination…

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KatieDay

Join Ms. JD as our Social Media Coordinator!

Do you have crazy social media skills? Is your smart phone always ready to Tweet, Pin, and Post? Do you have a passion for women helping women? If you answered yes to these questions, you might be just the person we are looking for!  Ms. JD is seeking a part-time Social Media Coordinator to join us as an independent contractor to help build and manage our social media outreach strategies. As an independent contractor, the Social Media Coordinator will exercise her or his own independent judgment and discretion to support Ms. JD’s online presence. What will you be doing? As…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Future of Billable Hours—- What All Young Lawyers Love to Hate

Billable hours.  Ugh.  The end all and be all in most law firms today.  Together with client origination, billable hours have been the measure of success for law professionals for generations. 2200 annually.  2000.  1950.  It really doesn't matter.  The ounce of flesh that is exacted to reach those numbers is considerable and should be of primary concern. Wellness of professionals, wholesome law firm values, training young lawyers to become law firm leaders, and client service should matter most --- not billable hours. Despite these countervailing considerations, we keep concentrating on leveraging and law firm profits, all of which derive…

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jennyrpatten

Five Tips to Maximize Your Efficiency When In-House

When someone asks what in-house practice is like, I often reply that it is like drinking from a firehose. The legal department is the starting and ending point for a lot of projects and issues, and tackling everything that hits your desk without a game plan can feel daunting. While everyone takes a different approach to managing their workload, I’ve outlined a few tips that I’ve initiated during my in-house practice that help me maximize efficiency while in the office. 1. Keep Organized. Staying on top of your various task lists, emails, meeting invites, updates and follow-ups can feel like…

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mjtimko13

Something Blue:  Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession – On Foie Gras & Food Faux Pas

As I mentioned in my first blog post, I experienced heightened self-awareness about my blue-collar roots once I entered the legal profession.  For this month’s blog post, I wanted to share some of my awkward workplace encounters involving food.  I am fully aware that these awkward food encounters are trivial in comparison to larger socioeconomic issues such as structural inequality.  However, I think it’s important for us first-generation lawyers to share our personal experiences, frustrations, and lessons learned.     As a newly minted lawyer, I found that the majority of my coworkers appeared to possess sophisticated palates and expansive culinary vocabularies.  Casual lunchtime conversations typically revolved around food (in addition to work…

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cZJLDe3t7y

Ethics and the Burden of a Criminal Lawyer

Defense lawyers have a difficult job. While these lawyers work in the confines of the law, and they work similar hours to other lawyers, they carry an ethical burden that a lot of other lawyers do not. A criminal lawyer may defend a murderer or rapist. They can be ethical, or they can be unethical attorneys. You can work helping inmates on death row clear their names, and this can be a tremendously rewarding experience. But a criminal lawyer may need to live with the fact that a guilty man is going free. There's also the issue of an innocent…

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