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Susan Smith Blakely

More on Young Women Lawyers Getting Organized For The Fall

In my last blog, I talked about getting organized in your law practice after the summer. With the sound of waves still in your ears and the daydreams of the perfect summer vacation sneaking into your consciousness, resist the temptation and get serious. Others will expect it. Here are some specifics that may help you. Start by calculating your annual billable hour requirement as a weekly requirement. Don't forget to subtract the weeks that you will be on vacation from the 52 total weeks in the year. Hopefully, you will not be billing time on your vacation, and you want…

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Why You Should Think Twice About Picking Your Employer Based on Prestige

My tenth year law school reunion is coming up next month.  And with the benefit of a decade, I can now admit I was pretty superficial when it came to picking the law firm where I spent my 1L and 2L summers, and ultimately where I worked after graduation.  I picked my employer based on the perception of prestige and one specific ranking guide, at that. Don't get me wrong: I'm not terribly hard on myself about what I now view to be a mistake.  And I don't think I made a disastrous decision given that I was 24 and…

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Kristin Holland

Mentors Matter:  Don’t Let Perfection Stop YOU from Mentoring

Mentorship is just a loose relationship in which one person is willing to help another by sharing her life experience, advice and encouragement.  Why does it sometimes seem so hard to get the relationship going? I think it's because we are letting perfection be the enemy of the good.  So this month, I'm writing to debunk that idea and make the case for imperfection. I'll cover common perfection myths, knock them down one by one, and encourage you to jump into mentorship.  Whether you are avoiding the "the give" as a mentor or the "the ask" as a mentee, there is no…

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Which of Your “Selves” Comes Forward as a Lawyer?

I have several different selves rattling around inside. No, I’m not suggesting multiple personality disorder. I’m alluding to the varied interests and aptitudes that have led to different careers over time. My nurturing, playful self became an elementary school teacher. She was followed by the brainy, kick-ass self who became a lawyer. Then the creative, reclusive self came forward to write my legal thriller Terminal Ambition. Now the compassionate, wise self is stepping up as a coach to guide clients through growth and change. Just as Harry Potter discovered that he had a “good self” and a “bad self,” each…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers:  Time To Get Organized!

September is here. You are back from the beach or the exotic vacation of your dreams, which you could afford because you are one of the lucky young lawyers who has a good job and a significant salary. So, this is the time when you need to buckle down and secure that good job and significant salary for the future. It is show time once again, and people are watching. Make a good impression in these first weeks of the Fall. People are back at work, and they are serious again. They are no longer thinking of summer vacations, and…

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Attorneys Across America: Featuring Lauren Damen

Known as the "Live Musical Capital of the World," Austin, Texas was named by Forbes as one of the best cities for job growth in 2014.  I reached out to Lauren Damen, an associate at Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, to find out what it's like to practice law in the Lone Star State.  Ms. Damen’s full bio appears at the end of this post. KW:  Where do you practice law? LD:  At the law firm of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody.  Our firm is located in Austin, Texas, but many of the clients we represent are based or located in other cities,…

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Happy Woman, Successful Rainmaker: An ABA Article

I was the issues editor for the August Issue of the ABA Law Practice Division Webzine.  The August issue was focused on Women Rainmakers as we prepare for the ABA Law Practice Women Rainmaker's Workshop in San Diego on November 7-8, 2014.  The excerpted article first appeared in the ABA Law Practice Today Webzine in August 2014.  Please click here for the entire article and more. Here are some facts to ponder: According to the American Bar Foundation (ABF) After the JD study conducted during years 2000-2012, the general satisfaction level of lawyers after 13 years of practice is 3.92 on a…

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Five Ways To Manage Your Time And Get Things Done

Dear Ms. JD, Is it time to set your quarterly goals?  As fall is rapidly approaching, reevaluating your goals is always a good idea. Changes in behavior are a must in order to get things done. Most of us become lazy, procrastinate and over-complicate things. I know I do and I work with lawyers…(those of you into psychoanalysis don’t even think about going there!) The key to getting things done is really to FOCUS. Make it a habit each day to focus on your action plans and lists. (For the ambitious types do it twice a day!) During a 120…

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How to Manage Your Student Loans as a New Lawyer

Congratulations! You've tackled the bar exam, and you've already started (or are about to start) your first job. You still have many exciting challenges ahead, but one you can deal with today is the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt you have. While there’s no quick fix to eliminating this debt, you can take a few steps now to save thousands over the life of your loans and save valuable time dealing with your lenders this fall. Start by making sure everything is in order with your loan servicers.  This includes updating your contact information (in…

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How To Get the Most from Attending Conferences

Conferences and workshops are one of the best ways of meeting potential clients, strengthening relationships with referral sources, if you are one of the speakers, it is  great opportunity to showcase your  expertise. People get to see you up close.  Ultimately, people do business with whom they like, know and trust, and there is nothing like meeting other people in the flesh. However, far too many  lawyers and professionals dismiss all the networking opportunities available to them. Here are a couple of tips to get you started to maximize your return on investments when attending conferences: Arrive early for all sessions. This will provide…

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