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Susan Smith Blakely

International Women’s Day

  Today is International Women's Day.  I hope you are celebrating being a woman or having a wonderful woman at your side. Today we remember that we have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go in terms of equal opportunity, equal pay, implicit bias, and respect.  Even equal protection comes to mind as we are reminded of the recent disclosures by Senator Martha McSally--- women are not protected adequately within the military ranks any more than they are protected in society at large.  Sexism is still baked in the cake of our culture, and we…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Young Women Lawyers:  Beware of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Mental illness and substance abuse are big problems in our profession today.  I call attention to these issues whenever I get the opportunity to speak to lawyers, young and older.  I did it at the event for the launch of my new book at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago on February 4th and also two days later at a program for law students in Michigan.  I implored them to be careful personally and to be vigilant on behalf of colleagues. I noted at both events that the American Bar Association (ABA) has identified an initiative to address these issues and…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Do Women Lawyers and Other Women Leaders Have to Be Nice?

A lot has been written in the last few days about what makes a good woman leader.  Those discussions have been within the context of the political arena, which is not too surprising because the Speaker of the House of Representatives is a powerful woman, and the roster of persons announcing to run for POTUS in 2020 is full of powerful women. So we have read here how Amy Klobuchar, Senator from Minnesota and proclaimed presidential candidate, is perceived by some of her staff as "not nice" and even "mean."  And today we read here that Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, uses her…

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dlamorie

LinkedIn Success in 3 Easy Steps: Networking Edition

Despite my good luck with career opportunities through LinkedIn (which I've shared in Part 1 of this 'LinkedIn Success' series), I haven't been the most engaged user other than keeping my profile current.  I've only recently unlocked the key to the site's full potential.  It goes beyond just job hunting; it's networking in the palm of your hand.  I now log in to LinkedIn more often than I do to Facebook.   My LinkedIn newsfeed is full of cool articles about cutting edge companies doing socially positive work, inspiring stories, and notices about my colleagues' promotions and job changes.  It's a…

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cZJLDe3t7y

Overcoming Language Barriers: Why it Pays to be a Bi-Lingual Attorney

In today’s globally-connected world, it pays to be a bi-lingual attorney. The U.S. in particular is a melting pot of cultures and languages. In fact, at least 350 languages are spoken in U.S. homes. Because communication is critical in the law field, knowing more than one language opens up the opportunity to reach and help a wider range of clients. It’s About Serving Clients Bilingual attorneys have an advantage when it comes to serving their clients. Let’s imagine that your client was injured in an accident. You’ve found a key witness to corroborate the facts, but there’s just one problem:…

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annajo

How to Improve Your Interactions With Clients With Disabilities

Eventually, you’ll likely find yourself engaging with clients who have mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from being able to converse normally, or otherwise force them to interact with their environment in nontraditional ways. If you’re not used to engaging with people who have disabilities, this can pose a challenge; how can you meet their needs while simultaneously remaining professional and getting all the information you need to do your job? Physical Accessibility One of the easiest steps you can take is ensuring that your office is physically accessible for people who have physical disabilities. For example, if you…

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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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jennyrpatten

You Don’t Own This, So Don’t Let it Own You

I had just arrived in the office, dumped my bags at my desk, and sprinted down the hall. I had to find my boss. I needed to tell her about a call I received from a client in the middle of the night that made my heart race and jaw clench. It involved an urgent, immediate, life-altering matter that couldn’t wait until morning, and I had to give the kind of legal advice that you ruminate about for hours after you hang up the phone. I found my boss sitting at her desk and scanning through her email. I knocked…

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dogarro

Best Career Advice for “Becoming” My Best Self

During her Becoming book tour, First Lady Michelle Obama chronicled her career and professional and personal challenges. Though in a large arena, her deeply personal stories, which usually ended in sage advice, felt like they were spoken directly to me. One such piece of advice is actually the #1 piece of career advice I ever received. After sharing that she brought her four month old daughter to an interview in which she unapologetically negotiated for the salary and benefits she desired, she admonished women in the room to stop hiding everything about ourselves and start bringing those things to the…

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deestern

Tips for Passing the Bar Exam in an Additional Jurisdiction (CA & NY)

First of all, be damn sure there's no other way for you to get admitted to the second jurisdiction without taking the bar exam. It's not exactly a blast to spend summer days seeking out a seat in the public library (although I did see some interesting sights, including a security guard tasked with waking people up with an umbrella. And no, I did not learn that first hand, I'm proud to say.) I didn't find a way around taking the entire bar again in NY (people still tell me I missed a workaround). A good strategy employed by a colleague of…

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