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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Lawyers:  Ask for What You Want!

Asking for what you want?  Ah.  It is much harder than it sounds.  But, you must master the fine art of identifying what you want and asking for it.  Especially at work where every opportunity lost can negatively affect your career path. My friend Anne Loehr just posted an article about this, and I thank her for that.  As a leadership consultant to companies and firms, she has done a lot of thinking about this.  She isn't always writing for lawyers, but the same rules apply throughout the working world. Anne rightfully points out that the response "I don't care" is…

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jennyrpatten

Five Tips to Maximize Your Efficiency When In-House

When someone asks what in-house practice is like, I often reply that it is like drinking from a firehose. The legal department is the starting and ending point for a lot of projects and issues, and tackling everything that hits your desk without a game plan can feel daunting. While everyone takes a different approach to managing their workload, I’ve outlined a few tips that I’ve initiated during my in-house practice that help me maximize efficiency while in the office. 1. Keep Organized. Staying on top of your various task lists, emails, meeting invites, updates and follow-ups can feel like…

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mjtimko13

Something Blue:  Bringing Blue-Collar Roots to the Legal Profession – On Foie Gras & Food Faux Pas

As I mentioned in my first blog post, I experienced heightened self-awareness about my blue-collar roots once I entered the legal profession.  For this month’s blog post, I wanted to share some of my awkward workplace encounters involving food.  I am fully aware that these awkward food encounters are trivial in comparison to larger socioeconomic issues such as structural inequality.  However, I think it’s important for us first-generation lawyers to share our personal experiences, frustrations, and lessons learned.     As a newly minted lawyer, I found that the majority of my coworkers appeared to possess sophisticated palates and expansive culinary vocabularies.  Casual lunchtime conversations typically revolved around food (in addition to work…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Family Planning For Women Lawyers

Last week's blog addressed the realities of non-equity partnership.  As pointed out in that blog, there is a lot of difference between equity partnership and the increasing non-equity partnership cohort.  If you have to refresh your memory, this might be a good time to do it because family planning for women lawyers builds on some of the themes of that blog. For example, even though non-equity partnership may not include all that women lawyers are seeking, it could be a fine landing place for them while they are trying to make motherhood and lawyering work. When making that decision for…

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How New Lawyers Can Find Happiness from the Start

Are lawyers happy? We know that lawyers have a brutal job, working long hours and missing valuable family time. Working in a large firm can be demanding, and it’s not uncommon for lawyers to work 60 to 70-hour weeks even if they’re billing at 40 – 50 hours a week. Smaller firms are starting to implement what they call “full-time flex,” which allows for a 40 – 50-hour work week that actually means billing for the hours you’re working rather than working 10 – 20 hours more than you bill. While we may see a lot of lawyers working long…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Lawyers of the Sandwich Generation

I know a little bit about the Sandwich Generation.   I was 30 years younger than my mom, and, at the same time that she was becoming aged, my own two children were teenagers.  It seemed like everyone needed help --- or tending --- and I knew that I had to find a way to be there for my mom. So it goes.  If you ever have found yourself in that situation, you know that you are caught between two devotions just like a big ole piece of bologna is caught between two delicious pieces of bread with no way out. …

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The Mental Load: Unlock the Golden Handcuffs

Feeling trapped in a job, career, or any other aspect of your life can be crippling. For a handful of years, I felt trapped in the BigLaw life. We all know the “golden handcuffs” analogy, but viewing things now “from the other side”, I’m here to tell you that you are not imprisoned. Unless you truly are in prison, you have a choice every morning when you wake up about what you’re going to do that day. No really, you do! You’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Whatever type of…

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tatumw

Interview with Deborah E. Johnson, Entertainment & Sports Lawyer - On the Field: Women in Sports Law

Please welcome Ms. Deborah E. Johnson, an entertainment and sports lawyer from the Dallas area and Texas A&M University School of Law graduate. A solo practitioner for over five years specializing in entertainment and sports law, Ms. Johnson runs her own company, teaches government at a local college, and serves as in-house counsel of a construction company. Ms. Johnson has experience in diverse practice areas including compliance, education, juvenile representation, in-house practice, and transactional law. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me! Let’s get started. I enjoyed your post, How to Survive Law School, in which…

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jennyrpatten

You Can’t Be Everything to Everyone: Top Ten Pieces of Wisdom from In-House Mentors

As I come up on ten years of in-house practice, I’ve started to reflect on my legal practice journey up to this point.  From the time I had to hide in the restroom to make a quick call to my outside counsel for confirmation on a particular point of law, seconds before I had to walk into a board meeting, to the closing where I was so exhausted I tripped over my own feet and faceplanted into the floor in front of about 20 executives, I’ve had a lot of memorable moments.  Most memorable, though, are the lessons I’ve picked…

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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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