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Susan Smith Blakely

How Women Lawyers Perceive Men’s Behavior

It can be difficult to know how men and women are supposed to relate to each other in the workplace these days.  What is too much affection, and, God forbid, what is too much touching?  I have seen close colleagues in an office awkwardly come together for either a handshake or a hug or a cheek kiss, and it is not certain where the gesture will end up.  It resembles some kind of crane-like mating dance, and it is, of course, because they are uncertain about what is appropriate and not appropriate and what is allowed and not allowed.  It…

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LEGALXX 2018: Women’s Legal Tech Event

Planning to visit ABA TECHSHOW?  Interested in closing the gender gap for women in legal tech or women lawyers representing tech companies?  Join us for a free, one-day symposium on closing the legal tech gender gap. Learn more at: LEGALXX - Women. Law. Technology. Wed, March 7, 2018 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM CST Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology 565 West Adams Street Chicago, IL 60661 Women are woefully underrepresented in the tech field, often facing sexism and harassment. As startup founders, investors, or tech employees, men often outnumber women many times over. If women play…

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A Galentine’s Day Reflection on the Value of Female Friendships

           Today is Galentine’s Day, a completely made up holiday popularized by a TV show, Parks and Recreation, that hasn’t aired in years. Unlike Valentine’s Day, this “holiday” is intended to honor female friendships rather than romantic relationships. To say the least, the episode which featured this holiday and the character who invented it, Leslie Knope, was memorable. As Malcolm Gladwell tells us, a “sticky” message from an extraordinary communicator can carry an idea far and wide. Yet, I don’t think that the show or Leslie Knope are the only reasons that Galentine’s Day caught on.…

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Don’t Be An Investing Clown

The stock market just finished a great year. For every dollar invested on January 1, 2017, in an index fund tracking the S&P 500, the market returned a whopping 19.42% in appreciation by the end of the year. That’s not even taking into consideration the dividends paid. If you add in those, the index investor saw a return of 21.83% on each dollar invested (less fees, which of course should be kept to a minimum). Those are exciting numbers. What does a 21.83% return get you? Well, it doubles your money every 3.3 years for a start. You could get…

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The Olympics and Me Too - On the Field: Women in Sports Law

In honor of today’s Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, I thought we would take a brief look at women’s participation in the Olympics. The Olympics have not always been, and it can be argued, continues to be hostile to women’s involvement. In fact, though the Olympic games in Ancient Greece included foot races for unmarried girls, women were banned from the first modern Olympics in 1896.  Women’s involvement in the Olympics and sports, in general, were openly criticized by the founder of the Modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. According to the Baron, participation in sports destroyed a woman’s…

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Solid, well-considered legal advice and compassion.

Sunlight is beaming through my office windows, a miraculous reprieve from the single-digit temperatures that are holding court outside. Eager to stay in the beam of sunlight, I flip open the new file on my desk. Immigration paperwork, resumé, passports, marriage certificate. The usual. My eye snags on the marriage certificate, which displays a color photo of the bride and groom. The bride is resplendent is crimson and gold. Her long sable hair falls so long that it continues out of the frame. The groom looks like his having a hard time sitting still. He has one shoulder wedged behind…

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Mentoring Hangouts Episode 1: Networking and Branding

Hello Everyone, My name is Nana J. Adu, and I am a pre-law student at Rutgers University. I am also the founder and president of Rutgers NBLSA Pre-Law. I have learned throughout my time as president that networking and personal branding is a must. If i did not connect with the people I did, this organization would not have been founded. With that being said, it was a pleasure being included in the discussion of something I love to do which is networking. On January 6th, I had the amazing opportunity to join Genevieve Antono, Nikki Datta, and Katie Larkin-Wong on Google…

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Female Lawyers: a Doubtful Advantage

Harvard University presented the results of a study concerning graduates-lawyers. Among other observations of the career of those who came from an elite educational institution, it turned out that women who have made a career in law receive less, make marriages less often, and work more than their male counterparts. The study, entitled "Men and Women of the Harvard Law School", in which the 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2000 issues were studied, demonstrated how different are the lives of lawyers and professionals of different sexes. The differences were more than enough. Researchers - from the time of job search and…

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When The Law Breaks Your Heart

Law school taught me a lot of things. It taught me how to read a case, write a brief, argue an issue, and drink as much coffee as humanly possible. Among the things that law school didn’t teach me, however, was how devastating it would be the first time the law broke my heart. In all fairness, I’m not blaming law school for this – I have no idea how you teach someone what it will feel like when you watch a family torn apart and can’t do anything to stop it. For those of you who haven’t faced this…

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The Best Way to Leave the Law When You’re Burned Out? Don’t.

In 2009, I took a one year sabbatical from my 13+ year law career. I turned out the lights in my 42d floor office at 4 Times Square and left.  Just a year. Nine years later, I often joke that I’m still on that one year sabbatical. The truth is, I’ve transitioned away from the active practice of law, and nine years has given me a fair perspective to understand how and why that transition has been so successful. In nine years, I’ve worked on the executive team of a pioneering start-up company, negotiated publishing contracts and a literary agency contract, launched…

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