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Susan Smith Blakely

Looking Back at 2017 at Best Friends at the Bar

The Best Friends at the Bar year is about to come to a close.  Yes, I know that the entire month of December lies ahead before the Big Ball drops in Times Square and that you still have time for holiday shopping, holiday cards, holiday decorations, attending parties, giving parties, baking and cooking ... and the list goes on.  Do not panic, you have plenty of time to accomplish all this and more.  You are young and energetic and incredibly resourceful.  I have complete faith in you. I, on the other hand, have the luxury of taking the month of December off…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

To start this column, help me help you: Send me the tips you use to make sure you track all of your time. Just send an e-mail here, tweet to @babysharklaw, or post a comment here. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. I thank you, and your fellow lawyers thank you! Q: I hear the advice all the time that associates should not make the same mistake twice. But no one makes mistakes on purpose. Do you have any suggestions to make sure mistakes don’t happen again? A: I do. But remember that mistakes don’t just…

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Failure Turned Inside Out: Asking for a Friend

Sometimes the desire to help others is not enough. Before ending this column, I thought it was important to share my own story with my readers. It was a bit odd being the interviewee, but I pushed myself to answer some of the same questions I have been asking other women during this past year so this journey with you all could come full circle. For me, becoming a lawyer has always been a means to an end. I knew very early on that it would be the first step to evolving into a diplomat or politician championing the civil…

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Is Your Marriage Having a Negative Impact On Your Career?

You don’t need anyone to tell you about stress – you experience enough of it in your career as a lawyer. But what happens when you’re also experiencing stress on the home front? Whether you realize it or not, a rocky marriage could hurt your career. Deal With Your Marriage Now The legal profession isn’t something you enter if you’re looking for a nice, comfortable job that comes with lots of time off and the chance to gradually climb the ladder. While there’s incredible income earning potential, there’s also substantial stress. According to data, lawyers have one of the most…

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Join the Conversation:  When Will Law Firms Drop the “Primary Caregiver” Distinction?

In April 2015, Johnson & Johnson announced that to better support “the modern-day family,” all new parents – regardless of primary caregiver status – would get eight weeks of paid parental leave.  Birth mothers would receive an additional nine weeks of paid disability leave.  A few months later, Netflix and Microsoft also rolled out parental leave programs that did not distinguish between “primary” and “secondary” caregivers.  Netflix parents would get unlimited paid leave in the first year of their child’s birth or adoption.  Microsoft parents would get twelve weeks of paid parental leave, in addition to eight weeks of paid…

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Workplace Discrimination - What women should know?

Workplace or employment discrimination happens when someone mistreats an employee or job applicant. The exploiter can be a boss, managers, seniors or colleagues. They might misbehave with the victim due to his or her skin color, gender, religion, age, nationality, or race. Regardless of these things, discrimination is illegal in any aspect of employment.   Discrimination and harassment are not same! Harassment is a type of discrimination. Like with discrimination, harassment can be of different types, including unwelcome behavior by a manager or colleague at the workplace. It can be based on race, sex, religion, age or anything. Types of…

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The No. 1 Piece of Career Advice I Have Received Is Two Words Long

“Follow up.” Follow up after a networking event, follow up after a meeting, and follow up with yourself.  This two-word piece of advice is applicable to career, school, and life, and has served me well (when I actually consistently apply it).  “Attend networking events” is a popular piece of career advice given to young professionals.  But how many of us are guilty of going to a networking event, having engaging conversations and exchanging contact information, only to let the person’s business card sit in your purse for months until you realize you forgot to email them to follow up? While…

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Writing an Effective Thank-You Note

The number one piece of career advice I have received is to write thoughtful thank-you notes, not only following job interviews and correspondence, but also for reasons such as thanking a person for his or her time.  These communications are collegial, allow time for reflection, and provide chances to mention additional subjects that were not covered in conversations.  They are also excellent networking tools and writing samples.  Thank-you notes also serve important purposes when a person is not selected for a job they really want but may wish to receive future consideration at an organization or when someone has to…

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Ms. J.D. Lawyers-Turned: Interview with Attorney Vanessa S. Perlman of Mockingbird Travel, LLC

In this segment of Lawyers-Turned, we meet Attorney Vanessa S. Perlman. Vanessa is the Founder and CEO of Mockingbird Travel, LLC. She candidly answered questions for Ms. JD readers about following her passion, instead of the traditional legal path. In this interview, Vanessa provides insight about overcoming obstacles and finding your own unique path. Q. In one sentence, describe the purpose of Mockingbird Travel, LLC? A. Mockingbird Travel is a socially-conscious international tour company, offering small-group escorted tours that provide travelers with authentic travel experiences and the opportunity to give back to the places they visit. Q. When did you…

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The Advice that Saved and Helped Make My Career: Stop Thinking and Start Doing

The best career advice I ever received was so simple but so fundamental: stop thinking and start doing. Like many lawyers, one of my prized assets is my analytical mind. Personal strengths, as many of us discover, can often double as areas of challenge. Early in my practice and as a new mom, I regularly worried about what the future might hold, and how I could achieve equity partnership and balance the other demands in my life. I focused on the odds and stark realities instead of developing a plan and planting the seeds that would be necessary to reach…

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