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Walk a Mile in My Heels: I’m the Legal Expert, not the Court Reporter!

I recently was asked to testify for the first time as a legal expert in a case.  I was excited (and nervous) when I showed up at counsel's office for my deposition.  The receptionist at the national law firm where I was deposed greeted me.  I advised I was there for the deposition in the particular case, and she began to advise me where I could set up my court reporting equipment.  (Interestingly, I did not have a rolling briefcase or any court reporting equipment - just a notebook and my expert file to produce.)  I was placed in the…

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Through the Looking Glass—Observations from Five Years Out: Leadership

The pressure of being the first to do something different or new creates high expectations on the person going “first.” Whether intentional or not, the first person to succeed often becomes a leader. For me, successfully embracing a new leadership role depended on finding inspiration in the achievements of another leader, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Márquez. Making “It” Work In September 2011, my husband and I learned we were pregnant. I was elated, yet anxious. I was then a third-year associate and had seen many women leave private practice because they could not make “it” work. I wanted to…

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Three Ways to Improve How Sexual Assaults on College Campuses Are Handled

A couple of weeks ago, the Obama administration issued much-needed guidelines and recommendations in response to the growing number of bungled sexual assault investigations at high-profile colleges and universities.  I would add another set of recommendations that are another way of getting to the root of this travesty. There is a glaring piece of low hanging fruit that these colleges should use in their sexual assault 2.0 policies:  faculty. Make Professors a Bigger Part of the Solution Professors are a sorely underutilized resources in the detection, correction, and prevention of sexual assaults on campus. (I’m sure that my faculty colleagues…

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Kristin Holland

Mentors Matter:  Letting A Mentor Help You Find the Work You Love

A good mentor can help you excel at something you already love.  What do you love to do now?  Maybe you love a good puzzle. You like to find solutions.  Maybe you like to counsel people and guide them to better choices.  Perhaps you like to write or do in-depth research to see how others have approached issues and apply it to the situation at hand.  You could be an entrepreneur at heart, finding great satisfaction in executing ideas in the marketplace, and using your law degree to help businesses grow.  All of these activities are part of the practice…

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valerie lherrou

No Longer Extraordinary: more humanistic, better client value?

Last month we explored the problems of public interest jobs: happy attorneys, but low pay. At the other end of the pay spectrum, biglaw associates have the opposite problem: they make a lot of money, but are often unhappy.  Recently, I heard Steven Harper(1) address the issue of (among other things) the rather squishy way that large law firms quantify their productivity: the billable hour. This is a non-reliable way to measure productivity, as he points out, because a billable hour is not an output. Clients are taking note, he observes: they are becoming aware that under the billable hour model, the…

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Not Your Average Hearsay: Feeling Sluggish?

For many students, the academic year has just concluded and summer associate or intern positions are about to begin in a couple of weeks. Now, I know that most of us probably did not eat as well as we should have during finals. However, now that finals are over, do you still feel sluggish and want to get back into shape before it is too late and you get busy again with your summer job? Or perhaps you have already been working in the field and want to develop healthier eating habits now that it is summer. You may not have…

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Reaching Winning Results Outside the Courtroom: Tips on Confronting Colleagues, Friends & Family

As JDs we deal with conflict every day as part of our professional life. It comes with the job. But, to effectively resolve conflict in our professional and personal lives we need to step back from the adversarial role, reminding ourselves that co-workers and significant others are not opposing counsel. The Women in Real Life (WiRL) Leadership Summit is in full swing; a couple days ago, the WiRL Facebook page posted inspiring quotes from featured speaker Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time. This post reminded me that much…

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Killing the Messenger Who Reveals Our Hypocrisy about Race

From beginning to end, the Donald Sterling controversy has had the wrong messaging. The 80-something year old owner of the LA Clippers is caught on tape demanding—or actually whining—that his 30-something year old girlfriend should stop associating with minorities, particularly black people.  That was bad enough, but then the Clippers’ official response to the public outcry was that they needed to “authenticate” the audio to confirm whether it was Sterling on the tapes. (Contrition would have been a much better strategy than hiding the ball—no pun intended.) However the condemnation spotlight is slowly turning away from Sterling and instead to…

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Heather Asher

Beyond the Handshake

This past week I learned of an unexpected tragedy that reminded me to take care of myself – physically and mentally. I have a consistently calm demeanor, which seems to make people feel comfortable confiding in me. It’s not uncommon for a colleague’s visit to my office to “say hello” to turn into a mini-therapy session. This has shown me that you never know whether that fake smile in the hallway was just a matter of politeness or a disguise. As lawyers, we have to appear strong among our colleagues, our adversaries and also our family and friends - who…

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Meet Others and Learn how to Negotiate at ABA Program May 9th-21st in Select Cities

The American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section's Women Rainmakers Committee, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession's Task Force on Gender Equity present forums for pay equity and advancement issues to be discussed and advocate for change where needed.  For example, to effectively negotiate your salary in big and small law firms, it is important to be aware of the factors that go into compensation, how salary decisions are made, and the right time to make the ask in order to develop a plan to handle the formal and informal salary negotiation process.  Comparing notes and seeking support from other women helps as well. As such, the Women Rainmaker's Committee…

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