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skreed

Skirting the Ceiling: Beating the Billable Hour

We've all heard the age-old idiom, "Time is money." In the legal world, the time that matters even more than time spent with the client and time spend on the job away from family and friends is the time that can be billed. At law firms, meeting your billable hours target can be a make or break not only for the year but maybe even your career.   Last month, we talked about how the gender parity gap increases as lawyers move up the law firm food chain. In particular, I highlighted these unsettling facts from the National Association of Women in…

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jjembapa

Failure Turned Inside Out: Risk It All- The Anita Hill Story & Workplace Sexual Harassment

This kind of behavior is what makes it extremely difficult to speak out against workplace harassment and assault. To date, more than sixty women in the film and production industry have accused acclaimed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. At least two of these accusations have resulted in law enforcement officials and prosecutors opening criminal investigations that may lead to his indictment on rape and sexual assault charges. And while many may be interested in the salacious downfall of Weinstein for their own diabolical interests, there are those of us who appreciate the important conversations that have…

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mKYCZwhJPG

Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I have been told that I should try not turn down work, but I have also been told not to take on too much work. I am not sure when I should say, “no.” Do you have any suggestions about when and how I should decline work? A: You are in luck. Recently, in working with a prestigious firm on its new associate orientation, a secret and coveted text came into my possession. Written by Anonymous, the compendium is aptly named, The Little Book of No. More on that below. But first, some caveats. Someone has to do the…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Where Are Diversity Initiatives Headed (or Should Be Headed)?

The release of McKinsey and LeanIn.Org’s Women in the Workplace 2017 report marks my one year anniversary blogging on Ms. JD.  When I started writing about gender disparities a year ago, McKinsey and LeanIn.Org’s Women in the Workplace 2016 report informed, shaped, and inspired my first articles.  Since then, I’ve cited it many times and held it close by.  It may be the only document on my desk that I’ve not recycled since last October.  Now, a year later, it feels as if it’s time to switch out the year-old bible on my desk with the new report.  What’s changed? …

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Susan Smith Blakely

Mentoring is Critical to Career Success for Women Lawyers

I write a lot about leadership in law firms.  In fact, my last book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, is all about that subject.   In that book, I address the elements of effective leadership by presenting examples of good leadership and bad leadership.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of examples of bad leadership to fill those pages. An important part of effective leadership in law firms revolves around mentorship.  Mentoring young lawyers and helping them to develop their career paths and identify and maximize on their talents is key to career success for the young…

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mKYCZwhJPG

Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I am a new lawyer, and I understand the need to keep my “filter” on. But it seems awkward to focus on that all the time. And I sometimes find that I have let my guard down before I know it. Any suggestions? A: Yes. But it takes practice and planning ahead. Here are some tips to help keep you from stepping in it: Pinpoint your vulnerabilities. Thankfully, we are all different. Some people tend to be more deliberative; others are more impulsive. And many external factors can affect what we say or do. Think about your natural tendencies…

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skreed

Skirting the Ceiling: Women’s Initiatives in BigLaw Make Work-Life Balance Better for Everyone

Throughout 1L year the pressure was on to make grades that could score you a spot at a BigLaw job. This pressure seems to weigh down on everyone even though only a small percentage of the 1L class will be considered qualified to work at and will actually work at a BigLaw job. As 2L year approached, my friends and I entered the OCI process and submitted ourselves to a roller coaster of emotions. Personally, I applied to jobs and came into OCI incredibly skeptical and a little awestruck. I was suspicious that the benefits of working in BigLaw actually…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  “Locking Up Our Own”

Join the Conversation:  “Locking Up Our Own”  In a fascinating and heart-wrenching read about the struggles and political decisions within the black community that contributed to today’s mass incarceration of black people, James Forman, Jr. sets out to understand why in courtrooms full of black judges, black prosecutors, black bailiffs, and black cops are black people being punished so harshly?  Today, 2.2 million Americans are behind prison bars.  Black Americans are held in state prisons at five times the rate of white Americans.  Black men receive 10% more prison time than white men for the same offense and criminal history.  Black men are twice more likely than white…

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alyson.mtz

Too Afraid To Ask

I asked for a promotion last Monday. A coworker submitted his two-weeks notice, and I walked into my boss's office, full of nerves and anxiety, and asked her to move me to his spot. Well, there's more to that, let me clarify: I work as an Assistant Public Defender and I am currently assigned to handle misdemeanor criminal cases of indigent defendants. On November 30, I will have completed two years in the office. I am the longest-serving attorney at my level, and I have built a solid reputation through my work. Well, at least that's what my coworkers tell…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Bullying Other Women Lawyers—- Not a Pretty Picture

If you never have been bullied in the workplace, you are lucky. If you never have been bullied in the workplace by another woman, you are very lucky. It happens much too often, and you need to make sure that you are not the bully.  That is the only way we will get this under control. I, like most women lawyers, have been bullied at one time or another.  We are minorities, and that, unfortunately, is how minorities get treated.  Many of us were "pioneers" in our fields, and, because of that, the forces were against us in an even…

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