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Kristin Holland

Mentors Matter:  Men-toring—When Your Mentor is A Man

Many of my most influential law firm mentors have been men.  My experience is not unusual.  Even though women comprise almost half of the associates at firms, 83% of equity partners and 96% of the managing partners of the 200 largest law firms are men.  These dismal statistics mean that, for the foreseeable future, the pool of partner-level mentors is predominantly male.  The good news is that many of the men you work with have daughters, and they want their children to succeed in a workplace that welcomes them.  They want you to succeed to help make that workplace a reality.  They…

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Not Your Average Hearsay: Holiday Networking

The time of year for Thanksgiving and holiday parties has come! Everybody is happy and merry, eating and drinking, without a care. Is this your time to shine? Can you turn a firm or school holiday party into your best networking event? How about just a regular family and friends get together? There are several reasons why I love networking this time of year. First off, people tend to be more generous. For some strange reason, I’ve always found getting introduced or getting a person’s contact information so much easier during the holidays. It may be that people are already thinking…

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An Interview with Jessie Kornberg—First Female CEO of Bet Tzedek

Jessie Kornberg, who previously served as Ms. JD’s executive director, recently was named the first female CEO of legal services nonprofit Bet Tzedek. Ms. Kornberg will leave her position with Los Angeles-based firm Bird Marella in December 2014 to begin her tenure at Bet Tzedek. I recently spoke with Ms. Kornberg about her new position, what drives her pro bono service, and what advice she’d give to law students and young lawyers. You don’t come from a family of lawyers. What inspired you to attend law school? I started thinking I would go to law school in the 5th grade when…

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Five Ways to Promote Litigation Wins

Dear Ms. JD, With the end of year rapidly approaching, it's always a good idea to focus on professional goals for the upcoming year. Several of my clients have asked me how to promote litigation wins and to help them grow their practice. What are the best ways to promote litigation wins? Here are five suggestions to get you started: Media Outreach – If it’s not too old, it may be news. Identify  publications that  might be interested in the story, and create story ideas designed to interest their readers. Do your homework, make sure the reporter and the publication are a…

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5 Good College Habits to Hold Onto in the Real World

During the years that you spend as an undergrad and in law school, you pick up a number of different habits. Some of these, like waiting until the last minute to get an assignment done, staying up all night to cram, or hanging out too late at the bar, should all be dropped once you celebrate graduation day. These types of behaviors won’t assist you in the real world once you find a job and try to advance your career. However, you don’t have to abandon everything that you learned in college to ensure the best success in the future.…

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Different Faces of Follow Up

Though follow up can take many different approaches, the overall non-negotiable component involves any action step which provokes the other party (existing client, prospect, etc.) to want to continue contact with you. You are focused on cultivating and nurturing relationships which will ultimately be mutually beneficial and add value. A few examples of effective follow up include: Brief thank you emails following an event (networking, educational programs, or entertainment). Handwritten notes of congratulations for personal or business accomplishments.   Links to a relevant news article in which your contact would benefit. Personal visits to a client’s work site to deliver…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Measure of a Woman

For the last week I have been saying goodbye to one of my favorite people.  My father-in-law died last week, and I lost a true friend.  He was a wonderful, kind, caring and gentle man, who also was one of the strongest and wisest men I ever had the privilege of knowing. At his funeral, my husband read a poem that his father had read to his sons and to his grandson as each approached manhood.  My father-in-law would recite that poem from memory at the 21st birthday celebrations of his male offspring.  It made an indelible impression on all…

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Susan Smith Blakely

How Are Your Listening Skills?

Listening skills are some of those things that we all need to improve from time to time. Achieving good listening skills is a critical step toward growth as a manager or an employer in all legal-related businesses, and it is even more critical in your role as a lawyer.  If advice and counsel is a lawyer's stock in trade (which was clearly stated on a sign in the first of my father's law offices that I remember), the best advice and counsel is derived from listening to the facts, to the opinions of others and especially to contrary opinions.  Listen first…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Can Make A Difference

One day last week, I was driving down the beautiful George Washington Parkway on the way from my home in Virginia to catch a train from DC to NYC to spend a few days with my daughter. It was a beautiful day, which included a splendid display of fall foliage mixed with the natural tones and textures of rustic stone walls and dramatic views of the Potomac River below.  The effect was to charm me, comfort me and make me love our Nation's Capital as I always have. My public radio station was playing in the background, but my focus…

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Susan Smith Blakely

What Women Lawyers Should Look For In a Law Firm

Are you still in the throes of on campus and off campus interviews?  Are you having fun yet? If experience guides me well, many of you still are in the process of interviews for summer jobs and associate positions after graduation, and many of those interviews are with law firms.  Here are some suggestions on what young women lawyers should look for in a law firm. Pay attention to the dynamics of the firm.  Are men and women professionals interacting, and is the dynamic compatible with your work style? Is there evidence of healthy work-life balance or do most of…

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