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Susan Smith Blakely

The Reality of Non-Equity Partnership

Lawyers at all levels of practice can be valuable members of the profession and can find satisfaction in their work.  That is a given, and the decision where you want to fall along the gamut is up to you.  But, before you put that decision in motion, be sure that you understand the terms.  For law firms, that includes being familiar with the ins and outs of non-equity partnership. Non-equity partnership sounds good to many young lawyers who think they understand the demands of equity partnership and want something less. The thinking goes something like this:  I will still have an…

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3 Branding and Promotion Strategies for Small Law Firms

Building a law firm is difficult, and even as a promising lawyer, it can be difficult to brand and promote yourself. Younger firms have less of a reputation than established firms, making it harder to bring in new clients. The key for new firms is to start branding and promoting immediately. Waiting to jump into branding and promotion is asking for failure. Simple strategies can be employed, even on a low budget, that will allow you to propel your law firm forward. A few key strategies that budding law firms can implement today to build their brand are: 1. Leverage…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Could Use Golf “Fore” Business

This is where I tell you to do what I say and not what I do.  I am not a good example of what I am about to tell you. I was raised in a family of golfers.  My grandfather was a par golfer plus and designed a few courses.  He taught my mom to play golf when she was a teenager --- long before there were many women on the links.  My mom was a good golfer, better than my dad, if truth be told.  She loved the game and played at least three days a week during the…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Dangers of Leaking Young Lawyer Talent

For more than a decade I have been urging law firms to retain and advance the talent of women lawyers.  The three-book Best Friends at the Bar series has been my effort to spread those messages, and most recently I have expanded my work to include cautionary messages about ignoring and losing the talent of all young lawyers --- men and women alike --- in What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2018).   Those books and the hundreds of blogs and articles I have written and speeches I have given include…

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claireeparsons

How to Get Leadership Positions to Build Your Practice

Ask most experienced attorneys how they built their practice and they’ll tell you they “got involved” in the community or professional organizations. Maybe this advice doesn’t always use the term “leadership” but that’s what it means. If you really want to “get involved” and build your reputation, you need to do some real work rather than just paying a membership fee and adding your name to a list. This may be a little scary for young attorneys, since it is easy to think that you haven’t paid your dues long enough to qualify as a leader. It may be easy to…

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vcstephens

Summer Associate Advice Good for a Lifetime: Solicit, Receive, and Materialize Constructive Feedback

Many leaders succeed in their fields because they request continuous feedback, process it, and adjust their course. As a law students, I attended panel discussions centered on soliciting feedback very frequently, so it seems like a hot-button topic for young associates. The legal field is incredibly challenging; the learning curve is steep and the workplace dynamics are intricate. I want to make continuous and open dialogue about my learning opportunities a regular part of my legal process,  so I talked to my mentors about how to request and receive actionable constructive feedback. Here are a few tips that I picked…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Effect of a Greedy Profession on Women Lawyers

The greed will consume our profession.  I first called the law profession "greedy" in an article that I wrote for Corporate Counsel magazine in the Fall of 2016.  My comments at the time were part of a discussion about women lawyers "having it all" --- or not --- and the impact of the values of money, power and greed on the well-being of law practitioners. Since that time, I have seen more commenters willing to call our profession what it is --- a well intentioned endeavor overcome by negative values.  This kind of candor is necessary if we are going to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Advice for Millennial Lawyers (including Women Lawyers!)

Earlier today I was the presenter on a webinar for Thompson Reuters/West on "What Millennial Lawyers Want."  It was a 65-minute program and contained a lot of good information on millennial lawyers, how their behaviors and expectations have developed, the responsibility that parent generations and society have in influencing that development, the values that are common to millennial lawyers and Greatest Generation lawyers, and the roles of millennial lawyers and law firm leaders in a shared solution to the Generational Divide. Admittedly, that is a lot of content, but it was a long program!  That is how CLE works --- you…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The High Price of Over-Parenting for Millennial Lawyers

I have written extensively about millennials and millennial lawyers, including about how members of the Millennial Generation were shaped by societal influences as they grew to adulthood.  Those societal influences have limited their abilities to fit into traditional workplaces and, in some cases, have lead to anxiety and depression. Those societal influences include: rapid advances in technology, including social media; the impact of the 2008 recession, which resulted in insecurity and risk aversion; and helicopter parenting that sheltered children from disappointment, interfered with decision making, and put pressure on coaches and teachers to improve outcomes for their children.  These influences have taken a…

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Susan Smith Blakely

The Intersection of Motherhood and Partnership

A recent edition of in the London-based Financial Times included a very thought-provoking article that is a must read for all women lawyers and those who lead them.  The sources are both UK and US based and there is no single geographic focus. This is not just the "same old same old" you have read in the past.  Yes, the statistics will be recognizable because the percentage of women equity partners in law firms has not changed in recent history.  But there is much beyond those statistics for you to chew on and some new approaches that you may or may not agree with.…

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