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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: In a recent Podcast with Christina Martini, you said new lawyers should show enthusiasm. Is “show enthusiasm” code for “work 70 hours a week as a new attorney?” How would you advise a new attorney who is not physically able to put in those hours to demonstrate commitment or worth, or is working long hours the only acceptable method? A: It’s not code. I was referring to attitude rather than revenue. The two are distinct, but can be related. If you show enthusiasm, lawyers are likely to want to invest in your career. They will help you build your…

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Careers You Can Pursue With A Law Degree

Achieving a law degree is no small feat. The schooling is difficult and requires you to study hard and work harder. The benefit, however, is that a law degree allows you to pursue nearly any career path you want. Here are a few of the most common careers you can choose from. 1. Law Firms Perhaps the most obvious choice is a law firm. Working as an attorney has its benefits. Not only does it pay great, but you're actually able to utilize the education you received in school. There's a number of different fields within the firm from which…

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Friend or Foe? Technology in Our Everyday Lives: Drones

In his Time Magazine report “Drones Are Here to Stay. Get Used to It,” Alex Fitzpatrick observes that “with any technology, there are certain inflection points when it goes from being something perpetually in the near future to being a part of everyday life.” And this inflection point of drones becoming an everyday part of life is certainly in our foreseeable future. From use in news gathering, sports and entertainment, humanitarian efforts, corporate partnerships, law enforcement, and by general hobbyists, drones present a range of complexities that garner both praise and criticism. For the legal profession, this technology demands an…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Top Women Lawyers Tell ALL about Landing Clients

Most of you know by now that developing clients is the road to success in law firms.  Crudely, it has been said that "you eat what you kill."  In other words, if you bring in the work, you will be paid handsomely.   Nothing else comes close to assuring a successful career as a lawyer. That is why there is so much emphasis today on client development and networking.  Concentrating on acquiring the soft skills that are necessary to make you attractive to potential clients is time well spent.  However, soft skills are not taught in law school, and very…

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How to Be a Slightly Happier Lawyer

We often live our everyday lives in a blur. With smartphones, caffeine, news, and emails, we can move from our day-to-day existence without noticing what is around us. We often don’t take the time to look at people in the face or really to gaze into their eyes. I have seen this so often at the law firm where I work. One associate I observed glancing at his phone on the way to the bathroom, on the way down the elevator, out in the lobby, and into the street where we were headed to hunt for lunch. People avoid my…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

This month, in light of the Roseanne tweet fiasco, I am changing the usual Q&A format of my column to address some of the other lessons for lawyers from the debacle. The main lesson, of course, is don’t be offensive or demean people. Hopefully, that needs no further explanation. I spend significant time teaching about strategies lawyers can use to exercise good judgment, build relationships and enhance their trust and credibility. From that perspective, the Roseanne incident provides a case study of actions to avoid. The analogy is not perfect, because the Twitter incident was extreme. But there are still…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Retaining Valuable Associate Lawyers—- But for How Long and Why?

For those of you who care about what is going on in Big Law, here is a new development worth checking out --- and with critical eyes. Weil Gotshal & Manges announced last week that the firm "hopes to improve associate retention by cutting the wait for partnership" from 9 1/2 years to 7 1/2 years.  Sounds good, right?  Still a long time to wait for partnership, but better by two years.  The firm also stated that "substantially all" of the 7 1/2 year associates will be promoted to partner or counsel. That takes a little more explaining.   New partners…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Seasoned Lawyers are Critical as Mentors for All Young Lawyers

Sometimes you just read something that you know is wrong.  Not just wrong, but Wrong, Wrong, Real Wrong. Well, that happened to me just the other day.  I was reading the Above The Law blog, and I came upon an article captioned "Why Today's Seasoned Lawyers Shouldn't Mentor Newbies."  Because I have written so much on mentoring, including in my new book to be released this summer, the article immediately interested me.  In that new book, What Millennial Lawyers Want (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers), I argue that young lawyers want more  --- not less --- attention from senior lawyers.  I argue that it is the isolation…

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Interview with Asst. Gen. Counsel Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard - On the Field: Women in Sports Law

I’m pleased to introduce Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard, Assistant General Counsel to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law Graduate, Bobbi-Sue is a mental health advocate, an experienced in-house counselor, and sports law champion. She is also the founder and host of Leveling The Playing Field podcast. “Are you ready for some questions? A Ms. JD party!” Excuse the cheesy Monday Night Football knockoff, but welcome, Bobbi-Sue! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. Let’s jump in! You’ve had such a diverse legal background, working initially as a sole practitioner to general…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Are Young Women Lawyers Still Enamored With Law Firm Jobs?

There was a time when most young lawyers --- male and female alike --- found law firm jobs desirable.   The pay was good, the hours were manageable, and the upward mobility and financial rewards were inviting.  But, is that still true today? According to today's article on the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) online Issues Blog, it may no longer be true for young women lawyers.  Based on statistics from the Colorado Supreme Court's Attorney Regulation Counsel, the article identifies a "trend" away from law firm jobs for young women law graduates in that state.  Those…

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