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Taking the Stress Out of Maternity Leave

Congratulations, you are pregnant! Now, what? Immediately upon learning of your pregnancy, begin organizing a comprehensive game plan for how to tackle your caseload over the next few months.  Putting in extra work early in one’s pregnancy – and demonstrating to your colleagues that you indeed have a fool-proof plan of action for your maternity leave – will allow for a much smoother transition later on. Telling your Boss Telling your boss that you are pregnant can be daunting, but you can set the right tone for your maternity leave from the beginning if you walk into the meeting with…

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The Law School Lowdown - Book Review

Three reasons why I would recommend this book to anyone interested in law school: 1.      Comprehensiveness - I’ve read lots of law school and law school application books so I wasn’t expecting to learn anything new when I picked this book up.  Yet I was pleasantly surprised that I did learn something (what text book supplements are and which ones to get, etc). Most books focus on one aspect of law school. This gave a broad yet detailed overview of the whole picture. 2.      Experience of the author – Many applicants attend law school directly from college, so naturally I…

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My 10 Cents

Editor's Note: This piece was first published in Law360 and is republished with the permission of its author, Patricia Gillette. 10 cents.  That’s how much it cost to change the behavior of hundreds of thousands of people in the Bay Area.   When cities and counties imposed a 10 cent cost for a paper bag at the grocery store, overnight people began bringing their own bags.  The change was across the board and it was immediate.  In fact, a year ago, maybe one or two people in a line of six people would have their own grocery bags – and that…

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Law & (Dis)Order: What About Your Friends?

First and foremost, if you didn’t immediately break out into dance when you read the title of this month’s blog, I implore you to use this as the soundtrack of this piece. Now that we have that out of the way… Last month we talked about motivation, its sources, and how quickly it can slip away. This month, let’s talk about those people who come into our lives for a reason, a season or forever: friends. When you initially think about unemployment and trying to find public interest work, friendships may seem to rank below search engines, networking, and resume-building - but…

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Attorneys Across America: Featuring Jane Heath

In his book, “Thrive,” author and explorer Dan Buettner named San Luis Obispo, California the happiest city in America.  I reached out to Jane Heath, Partner at Duggan Smith & Heath LLP, to find out what it’s like to practice law in the happiest city in America.  Ms. Heath’s full bio appears at the end of this post. KW:  Where do you practice law? JH:  San Luis Obispo County, California (“SLO”). Our practice extends to the neighboring counties of Monterey and Santa Barbara.  We also represent a number of clients outside the area with interests on the Central Coast of…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Good News on the Lawyer Job Market Front

I am not in the habit of repeating myself.  However, when something is as critically important as this, I take some latitude. Recently, I reported to you what was good news and still is.  The subject was an improving job market for graduate lawyers.  The Slate article, which I shared with you on Facebook, was based on thorough research and well-reasoned conclusions that by the year 2016 the supply of graduating law students will be reduced to meet the demands of the market.  It got my attention because the author took on some industry doubters in a quite effective way.…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Good Time Keeping—- A Must for Women Lawyers

Timekeeping --- I know, a subject that you would rather not discuss.  It is burdensome and annoying and the situation is getting worse.  Now law firms are starting to require timekeeping on a daily basis and penalties for not submitting billable time in a "timely" manner. UGH!  Daily, really?  Yes, daily.  And you should be glad that you are an organized woman, who is capable of multi-tasking and compartmentalizing effectively.  YOU can do this.  It is going to be a lot harder for lawyers, who do not have those skills.  Think male lawyers, here!  Trust me, it is going to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Lessons from the 2014 NAWL Conference

Last week I was in NYC attending the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Annual Conference. I always look forward to this event, but this year's program was particular meaningful to me. The conference theme of "Leading with Confidence and Courage" is one that is very close to my heart, and, in fact, my new book will address that theme as well. I am happy to say that I sent the manuscript for that new Best Friends at the Bar book to my publisher weeks ago, so it is on its journey to help all of you achieve leadership in…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Networking Tips for Young Women Lawyers

Summertime brings more than just beach time and fancy drinks with little paper umbrellas by the pool.  That's for relaxation.  Good for you.  You deserve it. But most of you also have jobs to do in the summer, and that usually includes a fair amount of networking opportunities.  Here are some tips from to help you to become a proficient networker.  It may not start off as your favorite thing to do, but it will get easier over time if you follow this advice.  Some of it is pretty fundamental, but it is all part of a larger package. …

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Kristin Holland

Mentors Matter: Some of the Best Advice I’ve Received from Mentors

I've been practicing law for 18 years.  In that time, I've externed for a Federal Bankruptcy Judge and worked at three different firms.  I've read many articles on how to make it in a man's world, how to succeed in BigLaw, how to attain work life balance and how to be happy.  Here are some of the best bits of wisdom I've accumulated from mentors over these almost two decades: (1) Hard working lawyers beat lazy lawyers 99% of the time. Here's the truth: preparation is probably more important than the highest I.Q. in most legal situations.   If you are…

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