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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…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I have just started having direct contact with a client. I need some information from the client to complete a project. But I have contacted the client several times, and I have not gotten any response. I'm concerned about telling the partner, because the partner may think I can’t handle the situation. Do you have any suggestions? A: Yes. The client is probably just busy. You can try some additional approaches, but if the project is languishing, you need to tell the partner. My answer below assumes, of course, that the information you requested is not something that your…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation:  Benefit of the Doubt

We all make mistakes.  On a recent team I managed, everybody made mistakes – from the contract document reviewers to the eDiscovery vendor to the associates.  Yet some people’s mistakes will become easily forgotten while others will become remembered for their mistakes.  What determines whose mistakes get forgotten and whose get remembered?  Could it be our race, ethnicity, and gender?  I will argue that in our workplace and our community, the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t depends heavily on the way that others treat or react to our mistakes.  I will argue that it is not…

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ga2368@columbia.edu

Ms. JD Interview with Katrina Lee, Law Professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Today’s guest on the Ms. JD Pre-Law blog is Professor Katrina Lee from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law where she teaches business of law, legal negotiations, and legal writing. She is also author of the new business of law coursebook, “The Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice.” Prior to academia, she was a litigator and equity partner at Nossaman LLP. Professor Lee earned both her law and undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. Hi Professor Lee! Let’s start with: What is the business of law? Can you share some of the themes…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: If I am going to miss a deadline, does it help to tell the attorney who assigned the work the reason that I can’t make the deadline? A: Usually, no. Think of it this way: If you go to a restaurant and your food takes an eternity to arrive, are you less hungry because the “kitchen was backed-up”? Are you less annoyed? Probably not. You just decide the restaurant is mismanaged. There are some times that providing an explanation will soften the blow. For example, if you are working around the clock on a high-profile matter, you may get…

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Ms. Pre-JD: Interview with NY AAG Kristen Vogel

This past Spring and Summer, during my internship in the Attorney General’s Litigation Bureau, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Vogel served as a model for the approach I hope to bring to my professional life. My primary lesson from her about soft skills as a female professional was an unspoken one: there is a delicate balance that should come naturally. Kristen always spoke her mind, but made it clear that her opinions were unbiased. She dealt with everyone in the same way, had patience, and stated otherwise negative things in a matter of fact way. While I may have been afraid…

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tammyzhu

Join the Conversation: What For?

“To what purpose?  This was why they started us here [at the tennis academy] so young:  to give ourselves away before the age when the questions why and to what grow real beaks and claws.” – David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest I realize that my posts to date have largely focused on how to increase retention and success of women and racial minorities in high-powered, male-dominated institutions where it takes mentors and sponsors in order to rise up the ranks.  Sometimes these articles make me feel that I should try to stay and make it, that my success is tied…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I am new at the firm, and I have a legal assistant who has already saved me several times. She is invaluable, and I wanted to show my appreciation, so I invited her to lunch. At first, she eagerly accepted, but as the date was approaching she declined, saying she thought it was better if she did not go to lunch. How can I show my appreciation without having things get awkward? A: Yes. I realize the reference to “the date,” was not intended as a pun, but that may be part of the issue. Your legal assistant may…

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bg3orge

Washington State Family-Leave

The Seattle Times recently reported on a "revolutionary" law, one-decade in the making. Washington State is joining California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. in mandating employers pay workers' salaries while they take time off for the birth of a child. The Washington State law allows 12 weeks of leave at 90% of income (higher than any other state mandating the pay). This law, which has technically been on the books since 2007, is funded by weekly paycheck contributions from the employee and the employer and will take effect in 2020. I'm sure you can imagine how…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Good News for Women Lawyers With Families

Here is some very good news for women lawyers with family responsibilities.  In her article for Above The Law, Staci Zaretsky describes a new program for women litigators who no longer can make traditional law firm practice work because of childcare responsibilities and other aspects of family life.  She outlines a "hot new trend" of lawyers leaving law firms to join what she describes as a growing field of litigation finance and highlights the efforts of Fulbrook Capital Management in developing a program to fit the needs of women lawyers. Known as "Virtual Women in Law," the program is Fulbrook's…

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