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Choosing a law school: Four factors that matter, besides the U.S. News rankings

With the 2020 U.S. News rankings of law schools finally out, there’s a lot of discussion about the winners and losers this year. But as an individual applying to law school, rankings don’t tell the whole story.  Here are four factors to consider in order to identify what the best law school is – not in general, but specifically for you. Location You’ll make important connections in law school, and most will be in the surrounding legal market. You’ll clerk at a local firm, network with local attorneys, and learn about the business and legal landscape of that community. In…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I am a mid-level associate. I know I should be doing business development. But it is hard to know what activities will be the most effective. Any suggestions on what I should do? A: Because the results from business development are not immediate, finding the most effective approaches can take trial and error. But you are probably already doing many activities that are important for business development. Here are some considerations for allocating your time. Hone your legal skills. To develop business, you have to be able to provide value and solve client problems. This means you need to…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers: Help in Transitioning to a New Firm

  The legal field is very dynamic these days and has been that way for awhile.   Most lawyers change practice venues multiple times in their careers, and research shows that millennials will change jobs four times in their first decade out of college. Up until the 1990's, lawyers often stayed with one -- or possibly two -- firms most of their careers.  Sounds hard to believe now, but it's true.  However, the boom economic days of the 90's saw law firms grow in size and spheres of influence exponentially, and lawyers started moving around like bees in a hive…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Need Men to “Step Up” Like They Did

It was reported in the NY Times and other news outlets recently that male managers are afraid of mentoring women in the #METOO Era.  Maybe you read about it.  Or maybe you were watching the discussion between Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC and her guests last week about those reports.  I was watching, and it was incredible.  If you did not catch it, check it out here. Or maybe you were at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January and heard the buzz about it there.  Apparently lots of males from around the world were sharing their fears. I have…

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Should You Specialize in Mass Tort Law?

Mass tort law is booming, and a lot of attorneys are starting to add mass tort claims into their personal injury firms. Mass tort can impact 2 – 4 million people annually, and these impacts can be serious or fatal. The rise in mass tort comes at a time when there are product liability cases against medical device and pharmaceutical companies. The attractive aspect of mass tort is that it’s still in an immature phase. Clients can be found once, and when the case is large enough, it will result in possibly hundreds or thousands joining a claim. The settlements…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I dread looking at my phone in the morning. Every day I am inundated with emails, usually from offices in an earlier time zone. The emails often contain random requests that don’t seem as if they would take much time, but they end up blowing up my mornings. Sometimes partners want me to find documents for them. Or people want status updates. I am a morning person, and I theoretically could do my best work in the morning, but I end up chasing down information. I try to get up earlier and earlier, but I can only get up…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Diversity in Big Law—- An Ultimatum from Corporate America

A very large group of general counsels (170 to be exact) posted a letter and signatures on a LinkedIn group page this week in support of diversity of women and minorities in law firms.  The letter was a direct result of discussion after the Paul Wise law firm announced a new class of partners in December, complete with photos of them all.  That would be all white males and one white female. The reaction to the lack of diversity was harsh throughout the profession and in the media, and the LinkedIn effort soon was launched by Michelle Fang, chief legal officer of…

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How to Build Credibility in the Personal Injury Field

Personal injury lawyers get a bum rap, but there are more ethical lawyers working this practice area than unethical ones. Building a positive reputation and credibility is key, and that can be particularly challenging in this competitive field. With a carefully planned strategy and persistence, it’s possible to become the go-to lawyer for personal injury cases in your area. Keep Your Word and Mind Your Manners Honesty and integrity are crucial when developing a positive reputation. Mind what you say, and do what you say. If you aren’t doing this already, start now – and keep doing it throughout your…

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kmiceli

Unpaid Internships: A Garbage and Discriminatory Legal Practice

Do you want to know the best-kept secret in the legal community? Unpaid internships. In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had four unpaid internships in law school. I received several stunned responses from friends outside the legal community, specifically those in business school. I thought it was common knowledge that many law student internships are unpaid. Spoiler alert: it’s not. For those outside the legal community, here are two important things you should know. One, it is very common for law students to work full-time, unpaid internships during the summer and school year. Two, law students are…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Women Lawyers Must Retain the Law Profession’s Foundational Values

In case you missed my recent article in the ABA Journal, I am including some of it here.  The content is very important to all women lawyers as women rise in the profession to levels of supervision and management.  They must be cheerleaders for each other, and they must not give into temptation to right the sins of the past leveled by male practitioners against women in the profession.  To do so would be to unwise and shortsighted.  Here is some of what I wrote in the ABA Journal article: The senior women need to remember the words of former U.S. Secretary of…

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