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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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Where are all the Black Women Lawyers?

The Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago posed this question as the theme of its Spring Fundraiser Luncheon on Thursday April 17, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Numerous Black women lawyers were filmed answering this question. The conclusion was that black women lawyers are everywhere.  I submit, however, that while we are everywhere – hyper visible – we are nevertheless disappearing.  There are some Black women lawyers who have achieved tremendous success or who are on their way to such success, and we see those women everywhere.  They are on marketing materials, receiving awards, in legal publications, and…

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Five Reasons to Schedule Your Whole Day

Try starting your morning by reviewing your to-do list, weeding down, and writing a roadmap for your whole day. Here are five reasons to give this a try: Increased focus.  Our days are full of temptation to jump from one project to another, tackling what pops up in front of us.  If you are scheduled to check your email from 9-9:20 a.m., dismissing a 9:07 a.m. distraction is easier.  Focusing is also easier when you are only required to attend to one thing for a limited period of time. Better time allocation.  Scheduling provides the opportunity to allocate time to…

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Getting An “A” After You Graduate

Lawyers typically start practice after years of academic excellence, accolades, awards, teacher praise, and proud relatives.  We evolve from gold stars to honor roll to Dean’s List in a constant cycle of effort and feedback.  However, legal practice is not currently a system built around such consistent feedback and praise, often making the transition to practice difficult. In school, if we studied enough, we could get the A.  There was a right answer or a best paper in the class.  In practice, there may not be a right answer or even feedback (although we should learn to ask).  There may…

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Business Development and Why it Matters Right Now

Marketing is an important part of private practice, but students do not typically learn marketing skills in law school.  Unfortunately, lawyers rarely learn business development skills or focus enough on marketing efforts until considering partnership.  Starting earlier requires effort, time, and self-discipline, but the result is worth the early investment. What is marketing/business development? Lawyers and law firms spend significant time and money marketing their services to attract new clients and developing business from new and existing clients.  However, marketing legal services is different than marketing other products and services.  Lawyers write articles, give presentations, build networks, and work to…

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Now Confirmed: Carmen Ortiz to join over 30 companies at ACI’s Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law

Network with a stellar faculty of life sciences General Counsel, government representatives, and female powerbrokers in the life sciences legal bar as they unite at the only conference dedicated to giving like-minded women the skills necessary for continued success in the life sciences space. Companies confirmed to speak to date include: Asuragen ■ Amgen ■ Avanir Pharmaceuticals ■ Bayer ■ Biocryst Pharmaceuticals ■ Biogen Idec ■ Blueprint Medicines ■ Covidien ■ Edwards Lifesciences ■ Eisai Inc ■ Endo Pharmaceuticals ■ Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals ■ Medtronic ■ Novo Nordisk ■ Pfizer Inc ■ Sanofi Pasteur ■ Terumo Corporation and many more… Featuring a Keynote Address by Marla Persky, President & CEO of WOMN LLC (Former Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Boehringer Ingelheim USA) Plus, hear from one of…

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Justifying Your Existence in Law School with the Help of “I Too Am”

Every time I dismiss social media as a meaningless waste of time, a new and critical use for it arises. From Harvard to the University of Michigan, students of color are using Twitter, Facebook and other social media to raise awareness about an amorphous campus secret: Black students encounter bias.  These brave students—mostly Black—are are not suffering in silence but instead are using the power of social medias’ micro-messaging systems to raise awareness about the micro-aggressions and micro-inequities (which I collectively refer to as “the micros” and I’ll define them later in this blog) on college campuses.  Instead of ranting…

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Yale Law Women Announces 2014 Top Ten Family Friendly Firms

Yale Law Women (YLW) is pleased to announce its ninth annual Top Ten Family Friendly Firms list. YLW congratulates these firms for their leadership in developing and implementing family friendly policies and practices. The 2014 Top Ten Firms, in alphabetical order, are: ARNOLD & PORTER BAKER BOTTS HOGAN LOVELLS US HUNTON & WILLIAMS KIRKLAND & ELLIS MORRISON & FOERSTER MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON VINSON & ELKINS Below are key areas of progress and opportunities for improvement from this year’s survey results.  We hope that these findings will enhance awareness and dialogue…

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Legally Brown

Being brown is one of my best attributes, and it’s one of my favorite topics of discussion. It’s fundamental to my identity and has always affected many of my perspectives, beliefs, and decisions. But when I was younger, no one was expected to talk about race and without the internet (do I sound old?), it was easy to ignore. Then I went to WashU, where everyone wanted to talk about race, and it seemed like people were generally more aware and more thoughtful in their discussions, plus it was a relatively (emphasis on relatively) diverse microcosm of the world. Then…

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